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jont
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« on: October 23, 2007, 10:19:25 AM »

Its been a bit quiet here of late... so thought this might spark a bit of interest
"Digital natives and immigrants: A concept beyond its best before date"
http://connectivism.ca/blog/2007/10/digital_natives_and_immigrants.html

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istuart
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2007, 01:25:55 AM »

I am afraid the link didn't work but I suspect the site was down when I tried
I wonder what you make of this concept?
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jont
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 09:24:06 AM »

Hi Stuart
Link seems to be working again.
Was hoping that and your link might stimulate a bit of discussion on the forums.
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Oliver Dalton
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2007, 09:30:44 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native
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leonardlow
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2007, 03:56:57 AM »

Eminent educational researcher Stephen Downes provides his commentary here: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=42224.  I agree with him that Prensky's issue is that he's failed to "evolve" by engaging in a two-way conversation with his network; as a result, his message has become outdated and out of touch: http://mlearning.edublogs.org/2007/10/29/handheld-learning-2007-keeping-up-with-change-marc-prensky/
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Leonard Low
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Graham
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2007, 10:01:59 AM »

Hi Leonard

 Smiley

I read your critique of Marc Prensky on your excellent blog and of course Marc has been a fashionable target of many such criticism's since he ventured the "Digital Natives" theme but isn't that the point?

Marc has, for better or worse, got people thinking and discussing the issues of how people, young and old, use and abuse technology. In my opinion Marc is a great polariser of opinion which is exactly what you need at a conference otherwise you run the risk of everybody nodding in agreement. Whilst you've suggested that his views are "out of date" for a mobile learning conference like HHL 2007 the delegate feedback we received provides a different picture.

Marc was a pre-lunch keynote speaker and his job was to provide "food for thought" before people went for "food for body (including comedy prawns)".

Whilst the mobile learning elite may be well and beyond Marc's theories, the HHL Conferences are intended to expand the possibilities of learning using mobile and ubiquitous technologies to a wider audience from policy maker to practitioner and the delegate feedback and buzz following Marc's talk proved that his idea's resonated and encouraged debate during the lunch period where Marc was continuing debate and discussion himself.

Is there a difference between the way that young and older people use technology?

As a consequence does this mean that there are different opportunities for learning?

These are continually interesting questions that, in my opinion, continually change with each paradigm shift in technology.

I agree that Stephen Downes is an eminent e-learning theorist and I'm pleased that he was taking note of the conference but I also think that his disparaging comment about Marc Prensky smacked of what I believe digital natives call "playa hating".

Hopefully you'll be coming to HHL 2008!

Cheers

Graham
 Smiley
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 10:21:23 AM by Graham » Logged
leonardlow
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2007, 11:41:50 AM »

Hi Graham,

Indeed, as you say, Marc Prensky is a good catalyst for generating debate; his presence at Handheld 07 got people talking, just as a single Prensky-related link by the original poster of this thread has managed to give this thread a rating of "hot"! We have surely fallen for the original post's intent, hook, line and sinker... LoL Smiley

Now you allude to some kind of edubloggerazzi conspiracy against Marc in your reply which I must first assure you does not extend to me if it indeed exists at all.  As I've made clear to fellow bloggers, my thoughts are my own, and I have even, from time to time, exchanged volleys of posts with Stephen Downes (e.g. the meaning of "mobile" in "mobile learning") as vehemently as I have critiqued Marc in this case.

To my mind, both are remarkable people - in the sense, (as I have recently blogged http://mlearning.edublogs.org/2007/10/30/ideas-that-spread-win/), that they are genuinely "worth remarking about".

Wielding a spirit of rigorous intellectual objectivity, then: I personally think there are merits both to Marc's ideas, as well as those of his detractors.  Historically, Marc has indeed done a great deal to make people think about how both the medium and the message of education must shift in a time of increasingly rapid change. 

But I wonder: how many die-hard, chalk-and-talk, sage-on-the-stage teachers attended Handheld Learning 2007?  Few if any, I would imagine - attendees at a learning innovation conference are rather likely to be sympathetic to the ideals of progressive and innovative teaching and learning practices, and the importance of embracing - and keeping abreast with - change.

And was the audience to which Marc's keynote was addressed truly reflective of the recalcitrant and redundant "immigrant" educators to which he referred?  Why, not at all.  Even if I were in that audience, it is rather likely that my degree in Computer Science from Australia's best university would be vastly outranked by the various technical accreditations and acumens throughout the hall.  Yet even I, amongst such illustrious company, would find it difficult to relate to Marc's reference to me (as a member of his audience) as a "digital immigrant".  I've owned a mobile phone constantly for almost half my life, and a computer for more than half; I'm fluent in seven programming languages, and I will happily match my aptitude at innovating with technology against any seven-year-old. Smiley

Perhaps the KEY to the value of Marc's presentation becomes apparent via another presentation, which I blogged after Marc's (http://mlearning.edublogs.org/2007/10/30/ideas-that-spread-win/).  This presentation was taken from the immensely popular TED conference, which I referred to earlier for a definition of "remarkable"... and one of the take-away lessons from *that* presentation was this:

  • sell to the people who are listening; they will tell their friends.

On reflection, even though Marc was possibly "preaching to the converted," he was, quite likely, addressing people who were (largely) generally sympathetic with his message.  To us, perhaps the importance of change is obvious.  But when we go back to our respective institutions and recount the conference to our colleagues, we will surely encounter the very die-hard, chalk-and-talk, sage-on-the-stage teachers who, as I previously mentioned, were not at the conference.  And as we are ranting about how Marc Prensky recounted the importance of adapting to change YET AGAIN, it is one of those teachers whose curiosity we might pique; whose perspective we might change.

And we may well find ourselves using many of Marc's arguments to do so.

Thanks for sharing the presentations from Handheld Learning 2007 with the rest of us.  As you can see, through your generosity, we are all learning, and especially myself. Smiley 

I'll look forward to meeting you in person at Handheld Learning 2008 - I plan to attend. Smiley

« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 10:17:07 PM by leonardlow » Logged

Leonard Low
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Canberra Institute of Technology
Graham
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2007, 01:26:07 PM »


On reflection, even though Marc was possibly "preaching to the converted," he was, quite likely, addressing people who were (largely) generally sympathetic with his message.  To us, perhaps the importance of change is obvious.  But when we go back to our respective institutions and recount the conference to our colleagues, we will surely encounter the very die-hard, chalk-and-talk, sage-on-the-stage teachers which, as I previously mentioned, were not at the conference.  And as we are ranting about how Marc Prensky recounted the importance of adapting to change YET AGAIN, it is that teacher whose curiosity we might pique; whose perspective we might change.

And we may well find ourselves using many of Marc's arguments to do so.


Spot on!

We are expanding the net at quite a rate from around 200 people at our first event in 2005 to just over 850 at the latest. We are seeing more 'traditional' teachers and lecturers coming but the challenge, certainly in the UK, is that although we try very hard to keep the delegate pass low (most schools paid 195 per delegate) the school then has to find funds for cover, travel and accomodation which takes it quite a hit on the budget. Even if the entry was free I think there would still be a challenge.

So I agree we do need to reach out to these people as best we can and part of the strategy is to reach those in leadership roles first so that they might approve participation from their staff at future events. In the meantime we have to provide some solid ammunition backed by online resources such as the video and slides that delegates returning can pass to their colleagues in small manageable chunks.

Whatever we might think, Marc's "Digital Native's" theme is easy to grasp and easy to convey. I'm sure most of us on this forum are pretty good at digital stuff but how good are you at Cooking Mama?

 Grin

P.S. "edubloggerazzi" is a brilliant word for the day!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 01:28:17 PM by Graham » Logged
stu_mob
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2007, 01:09:17 PM »

I really enjoyed Marc Prensky's presentation and I think if it was meant to stir up thought and conversation then it was certainly successful but I railed against the "Digital Native/Immigrant" concept. The problem with it is that relies on stereotypes and they just don't exist! Our interactions with technology reflect so many things: age, culture, requirements etc..

In honesty I don't think the concept is easy to grasp because the more I think about it the more it doesn't make sense. The concept would work better (for me anyway) if it was considered in terms of adopter and non-adopter and levels of enthusiasm. However (and this is probably important) it doesn't work as a sound bite then.

At the University I work with various people whose technological (i.e. Digital awareness) ability outshines mine by far and many others as well (and I would generally say that I am very Digitally aware) but they have no interest in mobile technology. Why? It serves them no direct purpose. They do not need it to support their lifestyle (which is commuter based rather than genuinely mobile). At home they own all the means of connectivity e.g. Phone, Broadband, so they do not need the personal access a teenager or lodger might require via a mobile and they use other digital equipment for leisure. Mobile phones are for ringing home or a brief text only. The only small device to be really popular is the Ipod, which is used for company on a long commute or to block out shared office noise.

Yet these people would run rings around most technologically savvy teenagers.

For me it seems we adopt technology for complex reasons - we need it for work, to communicate, to be entertained etc.. Somewhere in the background complex reasoning is taking place - does the potential benefit outweigh the learning curve?

Most of the technology seemingly adopted by children and teenagers and leading to the branding of "Digital Native" do one or both two things - they entertain e.g. Ipod, games console or they allow social networking e.g. mobile phone, MySpace. The technology fills a need, younger people (in the West anyway) seem to have more leisure time than adults and these technologies help utilise it.

Alternatively in an adult world we might seek tools which give us more lesiure time. So we seek technology that aids that. But here we see digital embracers adopting Internet Supermarket Shopping, online banking, digital television, sophisticated washing machines that allow us to program (what a "Digital Immigrant" from Prensky's defintion - programming by choice??). Sure people find it difficult but so do kids, they don't all take it to like ducks to water, we are indviduals after all (except for me lol - Vague Monty Python reference).

We need to step back from the glamour and realise that digital technology is part of lives we love some of it, we hate some of it, we don't even notice a lot of it. Finally (for now anyway) "natives and immigrants" implies a destination point, a place of permanence. Technology and life isn't like it it all keeps moving so perhaps all we really have our fellow journeymen and women?

Smiley

Stu
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Michael Wilkinson
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 07:01:37 PM »

Perhaps we are over complicating this issue a little!
The observation is simply that todays children are inducted into networked society mediated through ICT (which happens to be more and more mobile); thus todays children are natives of the information society. This does not exclude the likes of ourselves but we have learned information technology through time and adapted to take advantage. Today's children are given ICT from (more or less) birth and need not adapt as they are 'native'
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Graham
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2007, 12:49:52 PM »

hear! hear!

nicely put Michael  Wink
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Michael Wilkinson
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« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2008, 02:51:42 PM »

Kind of related...
I observed the most bizzare thing yesterday - 13 year old children taunting their 'friend' for only having dial up internet - they called him 'Dial up Dan'
Aside from the bullying issue - is this a sign that todays learners demand greater access to ICT than every before? Is this a sign that the digital divide is lessening? Is this our digital natives considering ICTs and access to the web as a fundamental and natural part of life?

Intersting hey!
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stu_mob
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2008, 02:21:11 PM »

Hi Michael

I disagree. Increasingly I view the digital native concept as misleading (clearly from my last post on this). A big problem is it implies technology is static. It isn't and clearly many people of many ages adapt.

It is a great sound bite but it is generic. There will be plenty of people who can or cannot adapt to change of all ages. I will  concede that the difference now is the pace of change. For me the challenge is that we need educators who can equip learners to cope and adapt to the change. To do that they need to be ahead of the game not left behind!         
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Michael Wilkinson
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2008, 09:05:13 AM »

Stuart
I like the concept of developing our students to be adaptable to change. As tommorows knowledge workers, learners who understand the process of change and can move through 'spaces' (i.e. physical, conceptual, social, technological etc.) making effective choices and able to adapt to many different situations and contexts. It would be very interesting to look at the school curriculum and see how such preparation for change management is instilled.
On the digital natives point a think the following analogy summises quite well...
...I was born in England and therefore native. My friend was born in France and moved to England, therefore is an immigrant and i.e. had to learn about the British culture and the differences between that of his own. This is not to say he cannot operate effectively, merely that the British culture had to be learned apposed to the native.
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stu_mob
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2008, 01:43:04 PM »

Hi Michael

Well it's getting very philosophical but that's one thing I love about this this forum! Fundamentally though I don't think the metaphor is appropriate for the subject. Perhaps its the Social Anthropolgist part of me but I do understand what Prensky and his supporters are trying to get at but I think they have chosen the wrong vehicle. It's far more interesting for me to consider the usefulness of technology. So I go back to the idea of programming a washing machine. When I was  a lazy teenager I could never program the washing machine, the video, the computer all sorts of things yes but not the washing machine - why because in my lazy (only referring to me here not teenagers per se) way it was irrelevant but to my poor mum who did program it was essential and so she picked it up straight away. The problem is Natives and Immigrants is a blunt tool - you either are or are not. I think it's way more complex than that.

Also and this is more political than philosophical I believe it is a damaging definition. When used as a sound bite (and lets face it, it often is) it reinforces generational sterotypes and this risks cutting off the older generation not only form utlising digital technologies in their own learning but from promoting them in their work and teaching. I see that as very dangerous and is not the academic reason why I dislike the term but certainly it is one to be avoided when I am trying to encourage the use of imagination and digital technologies by all learners irrespective of age.
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