I personally think the overused term ‘digital natives’ was always silly and designed by a marketing savvy author(Prensky.2001), but his general premise that eduction institutions are not adapting to young learners with enough specificity may be accurate. As a teacher, I’ve been in the ‘information business’ for decades and as a teacher-librarian I’ve seen the pros and cons of technology implementation. Education is not an isolated enterprise. It works within social-political realities often influenced by business. Rapidly adopting emerging technologies without adapting realistic methodologies has always been the crux of education. Assuming ‘kids these days’ have sophisticated skills that translate into learning has always been a flawed notion. Like Prensky, I see the pitfalls but these errors of implementation are not insurmountable. Students are no more digital natives as my generation are digital immigrant. We all need to adapt in context of meaning. Generating splashy presentations does not mean approapriate learning has occurred. Just because Steve Jobs is a keynote expert doesn’t mean he is necessarily an ethical or wise man, but rather simply a good presenter. Everyone, not just kids, find Google queries seductive because the platform has a brilliant design. People do not always find their internet nugget just because Google is easy; nor do people drive smart just because they own a BMW. We all need technology skill building within the context of sensible meaningful implementation. Of course there has been a major misperception of ‘digital natives’. Whether a techno-zealot or a reactionary luddite, people are all seduced by things that intially seem easy. “In Google we trust.” “In Wall Street we trust.” To wisely exploit technologies we all need to adopt and perfect our God given critical intelligences. Whether 12 or 54 years of age, our 21st C crap detectors need to be tuned in. -Al Smith
ReadWriteWeb: 2010 July 29
“In Google we trust.” That may very well be the motto of today’s young online users, a demographic group often dubbed the “digital natives” due their apparent tech-savvy. Having been born into a world where personal computers were not a revolution, but merely existed alongside air conditioning, microwaves and other appliances, there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.
* Prensky, Marc. Marc Prensky coined the term digital native in his work Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants published in 2001. In his seminal article, he assigns it to a new group of students enrolling in educational establishments. http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf