Thursday, 8 January 2009

More myths about the digital native

Chris Betcher from Sydney, Australia has put an interesting critique of Marc Prensky's Digital Native and Immigrant idea on his blog Betchablog. He says :
"The Natives vs Immigrants concept serves as a neat, tidy metaphor that is useful on a basic level to help understand some of the differences between Gen-Y and those who grew up in the primitive pre-Google world. However, the problem with the metaphor is that while it’s neat and tidy, it is demonstrably wrong on so many levels."
He cites a class of 16-17 year olds "They know how to search Google … badly. They mostly use single words for searches and click on the first or second result on the first page of results, assuming that the top result must be what they were looking for. They are mostly unaware of any other search tool besides Google." He sees them having a functional literacy in a small set of popular online tools rather than being digital natives.
Of course, after using other examples, he suggests it is far more complex than just age.Maybe the really techie ones are the freaks!

He concludes "Perhaps we need a greater meeting of the minds. Instead of thinking in terms of us and them - natives and immigrants - maybe we need to value the qualities that both parties bring to the table - combining the fearless sense of exploration of our natives with the wisdom and experience of our immigrants - and work harder on teaching and learning from each other, regardless of age, so that we all live happily ever after in this shared digital land of ours."

A really thoughtful post.

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