I’ve just finished reading Are digital natives a myth or reality?: Students’ use of technologies for learning (PDF) by Anoush Margaryan & Alison Littlejohn.
I’ve written before about my scepticism of the whole ‘digital natives’ idea: a new generation of students who having grown up with ICT, “have sophisticated technology skills and a whole new set of cognitive capacities”. The findings of this study show that:
…many young students are far from being the epitomic global, connected, socially-networked technologically-fluent digital native who has little patience for passive and linear forms of learning…
…The majority of students use a limited range of technologies for formal and informal learning as well as
socialising. These are mainly established ICTs – institutional VLE, Google and Wikipedia and mobile phones…
…As students look to their lecturers for clues as to how to use technology tools for learning, many lecturers are unaware of the potential of these tools, since they themselves are not using emergent technologies for their own learning and work…
I was slightly suprised to read that poor access to technology, in both classrooms & at home was still an issue for staff and students. Further barriers to staff use of technology included the old chestnut time, as well as a reluctance to change and issues around IT Skills. Interestingly not solely a lack of skills but, for some, a belief that quite advanced IT skills are needed to incorporate technology into teaching.
I think this is so true. While I don’t think the digital natives phenomenon is a complete myth, I suspect it’s probably closely linked to pockets of privilege. Remember that other catchphrase, the digital divide – no longer such a ‘trending’ term but I don’t think it has been bridged!
Matt you may be interested in attending this event (it is on March 10th 2009 and is free):
digital tourists more like. like the people you see on holiday who bring their own pot noodles.