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Digital natives? Not really

January 10, 2014

digital natives
Mike Rugnetta of the PBS web series “Idea Channel” is on a righteous rant in the video below. He’s not at all happy with Marc Prensky’s concept of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” He makes some great points and I always love his high-powered, fast-paced style.

These two concepts are useful but a bit simplistic. It makes sense that people who have always had access to a thing will think differently about it than those who have known life without it. On the other hand, no one automatically knows how to use a tool simply by virtue of their age group.

In its thirteenth year, the debate over the idea of digital natives continues to have a clear connection with college teaching. Today’s typical full professor was born before 1960, while our freshmen were born in 1995. That means opinion leaders in the professoriate are very likely to have different ideas about technology than those of the student body. My two-part question of the hour is this: what are the differences that impact learning and how do we respond to them?

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[image “digital natives” by Cristóbal Cobo Romaní]

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