More Nails in the Coffin of the Digital Native Concept

My interest was sparked by a post by Mark Bullen about the digital literacy of ‘digital natives’. Mark’s post certainly lives up to his blog title, ‘Net Gen Skeptic’. He points out that research is increasingly discovering that

"digital natives", in fact, appear to have a superficial understanding of the new technologies, use the new technologies for very limited and specific purposes, and have superficial information-seeking and analysis skills

I observe this situation continually with students in all my classes, particularly for those just starting at my institution.

Mark goes on to compare the optimistic views of Tapscott, Palfrey et al, with the peer-reviewed findings of Hargittai and colleagues to show the large contrast in views. Fascinating reading.

Despite covering the features in classes and tutorials it still amazes me how little the ‘digital natives’ use online information management sites like SkyDrive and Google Docs. It is even more puzzling that note-taking sites like Evernote and OneNote are not central to the everyday studies of all students. I would have given my eye teeth for such tools when I was a student.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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