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Digital Natives

Wow! Another great article at Life Without School

Unschooling and the Digital Native by Laureen

What is a Digital Native? From Laureen’s essay:

    The term digital native was coined by Marc Prensky, who explains it like this:

    They are native speakers of technology, fluent in the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet. I refer to those of us who were not born into the digital world as digital immigrants. We have adopted many aspects of the technology, but just like those who learn another language later in life, we retain an “accent” because we still have one foot in the past.

Laureen writes:

    I’ve read through some of the literature on this phenomenon, and I’m convinced that it falls short, because it’s being written by people who self-identify as professional educators. As an unschooler, I don’t believe in educators, I believe in learners. My personal paradigm rests firmly on the assumption that children are self-starters, and that the information they absorb is the information most necessary to them in the environment they inhabit, so I’m exploring this digital native idea with that in mind.

    Prensky states,

    Today’s students have not just changed incrementally from those of the past, nor simply changed their slang, clothes, body adornments, or styles, as has happened between generations previously. A really big discontinuity has taken place. One might even call it a “singularity” – an event which changes things so fundamentally that there is absolutely no going back. This so-called “singularity” is the arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century.

    Today’s students – K through college – represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives.

Her family sounds much like ours! Check out her essay and see what you think!

1 comment to Digital Natives

  • Laureen

    Thanks Karen!

    This is a topic that’s really near to my heart, obviously, not only because my kids are growing up digital, but because I see this as one more source of unnecessary disconnect between parents and kids. I was hoping that by writing this, I could help some parents maybe see the silver lining in the whole video game/TV/social networking debate.

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