Chants from a Digital Native

Today Gardner tweeted an article by Christopher Scanlon, “The Natives Aren’t Quite So Restless”. Normally I avoid articles touting to understand what exactly a digital native is and what any of it means. But since it came with the Gardo© nod of approval I read through it. Right off the bat I will say it was one of the best articles I have read about Digital Natives.

The ending paragraph puts it succinctly:

If we are to equip students to navigate a digital world, education ought to be based on assessing students’ individual strengths and weaknesses rather than making glib generalisations that mistake using Facebook for technological savvy.

Thank you! This may seem obvious, but the way Scanlon goes through his argument is one of the best I’ve seen. While generalizations can be helpful in broad conversations it does not belong in higher education where generalizations paint with a broad brush over everything, obscuring important detail.

I probably know more people that have the characteristics of a “digital native” that by definition fall into the “digital immigrant” territory, than supposed “digital natives” that represent digital natives. The reason I even fall into the category of digital native now comes from knowing those digital immigrants who have showed me the way. Yeah I was good at the lower-level digital stuff beforehand, most people are, digital natives aren’t special in that. Scanlon points out that we mistake my generations use of Facebook and constant connection to the web as digital literacy and creating processing and thinking. So lets look beyond broad generalizations that work on the surface and start digging deeper for what is really going on. Its not as simple as native and immigrant, it never has been one or the other throughout the history of man, so why would the digital world be any different?


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