Tuesday, August 28

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Our children are 'digital natives'--young citizens born into a world immersed in technology:
"While many of us can bemoan this change in childhood and look back longingly on the time when baseball and outdoor activities were more prevalent than video games, the reality is that technology is here to stay and children are its consumers as much as adults, for better or for worse."
One would think that today's young people, being digital natives, would have an almost innate ability to use technology more effectively than their parents (who are 'digital immigrants'). This is not necessarily so:
"We, as 'digital immigrants,' remember writing research papers by reading through piles of journals, books, and archives of periodicals. When we approach online research, we realize how revolutionary the Internet is because we know what it was like before. We then apply those research techniques to online search engines, and find our tasks much easier to complete. Our students have no frame of reference of a 'pre-Internet' world. They are accustomed to working with intuitive electronics that provide instant gratification, and when they are not able to be 'done' quickly, they tend to become discouraged."
The challenge:
"This leaves us with the question of how to inspire students to look through Internet search results with tenacity, to approach new technologies that may require more problem-solving skills, and to address tasks that are not as instantaneously gratifying as playing video games. It is our role as teachers to help students develop the skills to problem solve independently and collaboratively use 21st-century skills while not relying on technology to do all of the thinking for them."
Being a Digital Native Isn’t Enough (Scientific American)