Posted by & filed under Jottings.

I’m interested in our relationship to digital technologies. I’m intrigued by how the availability of the tech alters our roles and our relationships with each other and with “information” (in all its many and varied forms). I’ve cut and pasted bits from “Revisiting the Digital Native Hypothesis” by Michael Trucano so I can highlight points that made his post useful/interesting to me.:

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In a very influential essay that appeared about 15 years ago (“Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” [pdf]), Mark Prensky coined the term ‘digital natives‘,

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In contrast, “[t]hose of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital Immigrants.” While Prensky’s views on this topic have evolved over the years and become more nuanced (those interested in his particular views may wish to visit his web site), this original definition and delineation of what it means to be a digital native and a digital immigrant remains quite potent for many people.

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That said, in my experience, the digital natives hypothesis remains alive and well in many educational policymaking circles (as it does with many parents — and grandparents, and marketers, and with many kids themselves), especially in places around the world that are just now beginning to roll-out or consider the use of educational technologies at a wide scale. Indeed, while meeting with education ministries on three different continents over the course of the last month, I’ve had very senior education officials in three different governments explain to me how the concept of ‘digital natives’ was central for their vision for education going forward. These recent conversations — and many others — prompted me to write this quick blog post (as well as one that will follow).

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Of course, the messy reality of the use of digital devices by children is highly variable and far more nuanced than is denoted by the simple dialectic of digital natives vs. digital immigrants.

And: Even where you buy into the digital native hypothesis, it still might be true that today’s digital natives will in many important ways be tomorrow’s digital immigrants. The rate of technological change could well mean that the approaches to the use of technology that the ‘digital natives’ of today develop in their formative years — again, if you believe that such people exist — may well be different, in ways both trivial and profound, from the approaches and perspectives that subsequent generations may adopt.

side note:

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About ten years ago (snip)  my ‘infatuation with the potential uses of mobile phones in education

(snip) While the term does not appear to have wide (if any) currency within educational technology communities around the world, I do wonder if, at least as it relates to access to various things, there might be some potential utility within educational policy discussions for the term ‘mobile native’, given that increasingly young people most everywhere will have a personal, connected computing device with them at all times?

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You can find lots of good related discussion and commentary, for and against the ‘digital natives hypothesis’, as well as arguments and perspectives that lie somewhere in-between

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it might be useful to ask: What do the related data actually say? A follow up post will explore answers to this question. View full story.

You may also be interested in the following posts on the EduTech blog:

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