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Blue Skies Thread, Understanding Students Who Were 'Born Digital' in General; The first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – are ...
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    somabc's Avatar
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    Understanding Students Who Were 'Born Digital'

    The first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture and even the shape of our family life will be forever transformed. But who are these Digital Natives?

    Born Digital is an initiative of the Digital Natives project, an interdisciplinary collaboration of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen. The aim of the Digital Natives project is to understand and support young people as they grow up in a digital age. Within the project, we make use of a variety of methods to investigate a range of themes pertaining to youth and their use of technologies. Our outputs range from academic publications to hands-on legal, educational, and technological interventions.

    News: Understanding Students Who Were 'Born Digital' - Inside Higher Ed
    Born Digital - Understanding the first generation of digital natives
    Last edited by somabc; 18th February 2010 at 11:26 AM.

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    Domino's Avatar
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    I'm beginning to despise this overuse of the word digital......especially in the wrong context

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I completely despise the whole digital native concept also as the only people who care about it generally get it completely wrong. There is somehow the misconception that people born after a certain time have some kind of inate understanding of technology which is true to a very limited extent. They may have a better attitude and mindset to dealing with technology but this does not make them all experts.

    I get people going on about some 12 year old in their class that they got to change the settings on their phone for them and how they just have a better understanding than the rest of us. My issue is that they include me and all the others with massive indepth knowlage and skills along with the same technical mindset in the same inept basket they put themselves into. All of this they justify away with the digital native concept, which is wrong.

    There is a social difference and technology usage difference but this does not equate to skill or absolute ability and is more to do with how much they integrate technology into their lives. The whole concept seems to just be a way for people who can't handle technology to absolve themselves of any responcibility by making it a condition that to their minds everyone must suffer from.

    /rant

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Agreed,just beacuse I did not grow up with steam engines, limited air travel and sail boats did not mean I grew up in the 'diesel' or jet age. I can guarentee almost everyone on EduGeek has a far greater understanding of technology, both online or otherwise than a 15 year old 'digital' native.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    But the point is surely that when teaching children they will expect to be taught in a 'digital' way, ie with all that modern technology can provide. It's the same as saying in the 1970's that you were not taught with a quill and ink. Of course you could have been but the group are saying that in order to best engage with the youth of today using the latest technology helps (which is good for us the enablers of all that technology).

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    It isn't about knowledge of technology, it is about how it is used. Most 40 - 50 year olds won't be happy to whip out their smartphone, and look online for some information when out shopping. They won't be browsing the net for TV content etc...

    I'd say the difference is augmentation vs inbuilt usage. Older generations augment their lives with technology. Those born in the last decade or 2 don't - technology is their lives.

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    There are always going to be people who misuse terminology but the I think the idea that there is a group of people who have grown up completely surrounded by IT is important and may change things we do.

    Just because they're familiar with mobile phones, Facebook, search engines and so on doesn't make them experts in IT but it does mean they expect to find an IT based solution to pretty much any problem (look at the thread about whether we need libraries any more for examples of this)

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    But the point is surely that when teaching children they will expect to be taught in a 'digital' way, ie with all that modern technology can provide. It's the same as saying in the 1970's that you were not taught with a quill and ink. Of course you could have been but the group are saying that in order to best engage with the youth of today using the latest technology helps (which is good for us the enablers of all that technology).
    Funny you should mention that. I recall having handwriting lessons at infants/junior school using nibbed pens that you had to dip in ink, and blotting paper. This was about 1978. To this day I have no idea why we were doing this! I wonder what educational techniques and methods are going to be reundant and useless to the people getting being made to learn them today?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Funny you should mention that. I recall having handwriting lessons at infants/junior school using nibbed pens that you had to dip in ink, and blotting paper. This was about 1978. To this day I have no idea why we were doing this! I wonder what educational techniques and methods are going to be reundant and useless to the people getting being made to learn them today?
    they made vicious darts though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I completely despise the whole digital native concept also as the only people who care about it generally get it completely wrong. There is somehow the misconception that people born after a certain time have some kind of inate understanding of technology which is true to a very limited extent. They may have a better attitude and mindset to dealing with technology but this does not make them all experts.

    I get people going on about some 12 year old in their class that they got to change the settings on their phone for them and how they just have a better understanding than the rest of us. My issue is that they include me and all the others with massive indepth knowlage and skills along with the same technical mindset in the same inept basket they put themselves into. All of this they justify away with the digital native concept, which is wrong.

    There is a social difference and technology usage difference but this does not equate to skill or absolute ability and is more to do with how much they integrate technology into their lives. The whole concept seems to just be a way for people who can't handle technology to absolve themselves of any responcibility by making it a condition that to their minds everyone must suffer from.

    /rant

    There is some new research (can't lay my finger on it ATM) which suggests that children have just as many problems with new technology as older folk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by somabc View Post
    But the point is surely that when teaching children they will expect to be taught in a 'digital' way, ie with all that modern technology can provide. It's the same as saying in the 1970's that you were not taught with a quill and ink. Of course you could have been but the group are saying that in order to best engage with the youth of today using the latest technology helps (which is good for us the enablers of all that technology).
    While it is good to integrate tech into the curriculum and I fully support it that is not the whole story. There still needs to be a balance, they did not stop teaching how to write because the typewriter came along and they did not stop teaching how to add because the calculator was invented. A balance needs to be struck otherwise they are being taught a defficiency rather than having an advantage.

    I totally agree that there should be more integration and stuff that enables better learning should be in use but it should be because it actually helps otherwise it is a gimmic and will not work for long.

    There are always people who use terminology wrong but this one I see as particularly harmful because it either gives people an excuse not to try or an excuse to leave everything to technology and hence not try.

    The actual term does have merit when viewed correctly as localzuk described it but all of the emphasis on it along with the misunderstandings can be quite problematic. This is not so much a comment of the OPs posted stories but a reaction to the kind of idiocy that this term has caused in certain instances here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Funny you should mention that. I recall having handwriting lessons at infants/junior school using nibbed pens that you had to dip in ink, and blotting paper. This was about 1978. To this day I have no idea why we were doing this! I wonder what educational techniques and methods are going to be reundant and useless to the people getting being made to learn them today?
    Yes we learnt some truely pointless things too, some things really do need to be removed from the curriculum as long as they don't compromise understanding.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 18th February 2010 at 01:20 PM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    While it is good to integrate tech into the curriculum and I fully support it that is not the whole story. There still needs to be a balance, they did not stop teaching how to write because the typewriter came along and they did not stop teaching how to add because the calculator was invented. A balance needs to be struck otherwise they are being taught a defficiency rather than having an advantage.
    Picking up on the handwriting point - what is the value of handwriting now? I was thinking about this the other day and couldn't come up with a reason that handwriting is needed any more. Sure, its nice to get a handwritten letter but why is it *needed* still?

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    What children do is learn the 'new' technologies as a part of their growing up. We have to 'unlearn' the old technology and educate ourselves in the new ones on a regular basis. Eventually the children will have to do this as well as they get older.

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    @Localzuk - It isn't really needed that much anymore and should be toned down in my opinion but should still be taught. There are times when handwriting is the best or only way to do something. At the moment it is still the best for certain types of note taking and is also useful for notations on stuff like fill in forms which would otherwise require a computer or other such device as every single place that needed forms. Some environments are also harsh and devices (unless specially designed) would be illequiped to survive (writing on measurements to timber at a building site etc.). There are also emergancy situations where writing is the only option (touroque application time etc.) which need to be written even in harsh underresourced conditions.

    I would be the first to recommend the expultion of handwriting if it was practical but even when every child has a laptop that always goes and lasts a whole day there is still a place for writing, even as a curiosity like long division just to enable its use when nessisary.

    @Dos_Box - another good description of the actual nature of the digita native concept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Picking up on the handwriting point - what is the value of handwriting now? I was thinking about this the other day and couldn't come up with a reason that handwriting is needed any more. Sure, its nice to get a handwritten letter but why is it *needed* still?
    Its needed because its the foundation of our language. Forming the letters manually gives a much better understanding as you are taught them over and over. Pressing the E key on the keyboard and making the phonetic sound just doesn't cut it imho. It also re-enforces a very important skill which is hand eye coordination.

    To be quite honest I am against silly gimmick technology in schools. I am very much for, though, teaching people how to use the internet and computers well, showing them how to get information from the web and making sure they understand that not all of Wikipedia is gospel!

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