Friday, January 25, 2013

New Directions for the Digital Natives Discourse

In her thoughtful analysis of the digital natives literature (The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature), Erika Smith concludes:
Much of the criticism regarding the digital native debate underscores a lack of research that
authentically maps not only the rapidly shifting technology developments, but also the emergent
nature of the perceptions and viewpoints informing the learner, educator, and researcher
assumptions and beliefs underlying such debates.
. She goes on to urge researchers to "move beyond the digital native debate toward other authentic understandings of today’s learners" (as we have with our Digital Learners in Higher Education project) and suggests a focus on the following questions researchers focus on the following questions:
  • What is the role of the language in both informing and reflecting our perceptions of and
    experiences with emerging technologies in education, to which Prensky (2001a) and
    Seely Brown (2002) allude?
  • If there is a new teaching and learning ecology, as Seely Brown (2002) states, how can
    we authentically understanding and engage with this ecology beyond the binaries of
    digital native/immigrant?
  • Rather than simply considering technology usage and digital emergences, how might we
    further understand the various perceptions, values, and perspectives.

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