Episode 32 – Going Native

24 September, 20085 comments

This time on Digital Campus the regulars tackle the notion of “digital natives,” the conventional wisdom that says children born during the Internet era (say, since the late 1980s) understand digital technology intuitively. Are today’s students naturally fluent in the language and customs of digital technology, or are they more like the rest of us, who have to work hard to make computers work for us? We take a look at both sides of the debate. In the news roundup we discuss Google’s latest digitization project (newspapers this time), the publishing lobby’s attempt to close NIH’s open access research portal, and two new foundations to support good things on the web.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

Google to Digitize Newspaper Archives, New York Times
Backlash Against Open Access, Ars Technica
Digital Promise
World Wide Web Foundation
The Generational Myth, Chronicle of Higher Education
Harvard Professor Sees Answers to Nagging Web-Youth Issues, Cnet
A Companion to Digital Literary Studies
What to Look for in Tech Staff, Tech Therapy
Many Eyes

Running time: 48:49
Download the .mp3

Categorized under Google, open access, publishing, reading

5 comments to “Episode 32 – Going Native”

  1. b.rox » Blog Archive » Digital Natives : 26th September, 2008

    […] caught the attention of the good folks at Digital Campus, who devote the better part of their current episode to a discussion of digital natives. Although they take Siva’s article as a jumping-off point, […]

  2. Editor B : 26th September, 2008

    I appreciated the automobile metaphor, but I cringed every time you used the phrase “digital natives” throughout the discussion.

  3. Tom Hanson : 29th September, 2008

    The digital native/digital immigrant debate is a very interesting one. At OpenEducation.net we took an in-depth look at the topic, particularly as it relates to teaching and learning, in three separate posts:




    Our second post featured a Q & A with Mark Bullen, the founder of the web site, Net Gen Nonsense. Your readers may find our discussion interesting as well.

    Tom Hanson

  4. Who’s invited to the party? « history-ing : 7th October, 2008

    […] Who’s invited to the party? Siva Vaidhyanathan recently wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Generational Myth.” In it, Vaidhyanathan makes the blunt statement, “There is no such thing as a ‘digital generation.’” He goes on to debunk the idea of a generation of “born digital” or “digital natives” who are fundamentally skilled at operating digital technology. Meanwhile, Dan Cohen, Mills Kelly, and Tom Scheinfeldt offered up their slightly differing perspectives on the issue on Digital Campus #32. […]

  5. John Palfrey : 22nd October, 2008

    Thanks very much for taking up this issue in such depth. I am puzzled, though, to be honest, about many of the assertions that you make here about our argument in our book “Born Digital.” First, we didn’t coin the term “digital natives”; we credit the educator Mark Prensky and others, who did. We certainly agree that there is no such thing as a “digital generation.” A key aspect of our project was to take up this commonly-used term, “digital natives” — which is awkward, at best — and to seek to redefine it. A large part of our project was to taken on the (mis-)perception that all young people born after 1980 are in fact alike in this respect. It is for this reason that we make the argument that this group is a population, not a generation, in the first chapter of our book. Throughout, we argue that one of the key things is to realize the broad range of different skills and levels of sophistication that young people have in terms of technology use. We call the “participation gap” — the gap between those young people with great tech and analytical skills and those without — the most important policy issue that our research raises. I am puzzled that a careful reading of our book could have resulted in a reader to think that we believe otherwise.

    John Palfrey

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