Friday, March 13, 2009

Skepticism from Down Under

Christopher Scanlon writes in The Australian:

"The question is, why is there such a divergence between claims about digital natives and the realities of the classroom?"

His answer echoes many of the concerns we have about this issue. He identifies class, commercial interest and confusion as contributing to the divergence:

"It's partly a matter of class because there are some students who perfectly fit the mould of digital natives. For example, it's not surprising that two Harvard law professors were among the first to write about such students...The digital natives theory is also partly driven by commercial interest. It's worth noting that Prensky, who was one of the first to popularise the idea of the digital native, is also the chief executive and founder of Games2Train, a company that specialises in creating computer learning games...Confusion also plays a part. It's telling that most of the accounts of digital natives come not from natives themselves but from middle-aged people observing young adults using computers. Those writing about digital natives confuse the ability to navigate around ready-made online environments or download content from the net for a general ease with technology."

Read the full article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that's a good point Mark. It's entirely anecdotal, but when I discuss some of the 'digital natives' issues with my 19 year old son, who attends Cap, he pretty much validates for me, that there are gaps in the theory.

When I told him that this notion exists about those growing up with technology learning differently and, among other things, preferring online interaction to F2F, he feels nothing could be further from the truth.

He and his classmates seem to much prefer many of the same interactions students and instructors have had for eons.

We also assume way, way too much about them. They are not generally techno-savvy in the extreme, but do have expectations about the ability to use certain technologies as an option.