Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The abacus: digital technology?

John Palfrey et.al. in their forthcoming book Born Digital suggest that "...not all people born during a certain period of history (say, after the advent of BBSes) are Digital Natives. Not everyone born today lives a life that is digital in every, or indeed any, way. For starters, only about 1 billion of the 6.7 billion people in the world have regular access to the supposedly “World Wide Web.” In other cases, young people we are meeting choose to have little to do with digital life." They further link digital natives with those who have multiple identities, identities through which these natives apparently negotiate seamlessly.

For students who don't identify as digital natives, in secondary school classrooms, the implication are real and serious:
1. teacher assumptions that all students are natives in the digital world are flawed
2. the inequities for students who are immigrants grow exponentially as students travel through secondary school, they might become digital refugees
3. students need a range of skills so that they can adapt to reading digital landscapes successfully (are their base skills for students who don't engage with digital worlds?)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post really hits the nail on the head Julie. While I still will argue heartily that the metaphor of digital 'natives/immigrants' is useful for understanding the impact of technology and the steeper learning curve experienced by the 'immigrants' that didn't grow up absorbing the technology and it's rules/discourse, I think you are so right to problematise the assumption that all 'kids' are 'natives'.

I was recently sent this excellent link to a blog post by Henry Jenkins called 'reconsidering digital immigrants':