Monday, June 29, 2015

"Digital Native" terminology

I feel digital native is a good term to use to describe a person who has grown up with constant access to technology. We live in a digital era where smart phones and Ipads are more common than purses. It is wrong to assume that because this generation has more access to digital media, that they can access all features and truly understand the capabilities that are available to them.

As Danah Boyd states there is has been a long standing "digital divide", which is only more apparent now that technology is so ingrained into not only the social but also the professional realm of life. Media literacy is now just as important as any other form of literacy, and, like reading a book, using and deciphering media is a skill that needs to be taught.

The problem with this concept links with Mike Wesch’s concern with classroom settings. Although the skill sets students need for the workforce are changing, their school environment is not. In order to truly succeed after high school students should be active producers, with the help of technology. Currently, however, classes are not structured in that format. Teachers provide students with key information and then are assessed on their ability to remember and maybe analyze that same information.

So although these digital natives have an unique opportunity that their predecessors did not, they are unable to utilize it fully because of teaching expectations. Teachers are unable to dedicate time or resources to teach technology skills and restructure their grading materials to assess these new skill sets. Additional some urban school students do not have access at home, meaning they will be unable to harness these skills independently or with the help of parents. These two factors add to the educational and career readiness divide that already exists between high and low income students.

Although there is no simple solution, it seems that it is now more necessary than ever for students to be provided with a technology course. Unlike in the past, where typing was the main concern, this course should focus on key programs, finding research, creating powerpoints, etc.

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