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Digital natives

I’ve never been a big fan of the term “Digital Natives” that had been coined by Marc Prensky (as far as I know). Truth be told, I had never even been drawn to reading his stuff as it had absolutely no appeal to me. However, there comes a time in which you’ve got to read what everyone has been reading, even if it’s just to disagree, but now you wouldn’t only disagree because ‘you don’t like it’, but maybe you’ll have lots of other reasons for not liking it – I’ve even given Twilight a chance after so many of my students talked so passionately about it. If it’s of any interest, I didn’t like it. I guess I’m much more of a fan of Anne Rice and her Vampire Chronicles, but I can understand why so many of my teenage students were so into it.

Yet, lots of other students actually couldn’t stand it. And even those who liked Twilight couldn’t exactly agree on certain things – there’s something called ‘team Edwards’ and ‘team Jacobs’, and I guess it’s very important that you pick sides. Just the same, lots of my teenage and pre-teen students are into computer and Internet. This seems to be their favourite past time. But hold on, they know very little about anything that’s not Orkut (way more popular than Facebook in Brazil) and MSN. Yet, not all of them are into computers that much. I’ve talked to students who said they literally loathe computers and all that’s related to them. Funny, huh?!

Photo by Peter Hardy

When I think back about my own childhood, I remember I was always interested in technology. I’ve had access to my first computer in the house a lot sooner than most of my friends. It was a TK-2000, and it was basically a more elaborate typewriter. After that, I remember we had an Apple Master Plus in the house. Boy, was that fun! I even remember I started learning how to programme on Basic. This lasted until the first IBM-PC arrived. And with it, lots of games – I clearly remember when I played Prince of Persia for the very first time. Along came ‘The secret of Monkey Island’, ‘The day of the tentacle’, ‘Doom’, ‘Quake’, ‘Civilization’ and many others. I was also one of the first students in my class (should I say my school?) to have an email account – 1994. And who still remember those BBSs? Finally, I still remember using ‘Webcrawler’ instead of ‘Google’ to browse the web. I guess I can say for sure I grew up surrounded by technology.

OK, the big question is: so what? Apart from growing old without fearing computers, I don’t think it’s changed me a lot. I’ll admit that it’s come in handy more often than not, and even though I’m no expert, I can usually find my way around a computer and the Internet easily. And I find it really surprising when I talk to my students about very simple things on the Internet and many reply that their parents know a lot more than they do about computers. Perhaps it’s just because many of the gadgets still aren’t exactly affordable in Brazil – an iPhone 4 32GB would cost something close to U$ 1700,00 (at Mercado Livre, a Brazilian eBay) and an iPad 64 Gb with 3G and Wi-fi costs U$ 1650,00 on the same site. However, most, if not all, of my students have got at least one computer at home, and lots of them have got their own laptops. How come they haven’t been teaching me lots of new tricks? However, this is not even the point of this post.

Even though there are teenagers and pre-teens who spend their free-time online, there are lots of others who’d rather go outside and play football with their friends. Others would rather read a book, and others are much happier in front of the TV instead of in front of a computer screen. A lot has been discussed also in terms of learners differences and how to best cater for each one of these learners so that we bring out the best in them. Why should we value just one skill? Why should we simply categorise an entire generation as the digital natives and forget that these are people who come in all sizes, shapes and, yes, interests. If we simply put them all in the same category, how different is that from what we’ve been doing for decades in our current educational system? Sir Ken Robinson once said that our educational system aims at raising individuals bearing in mind only their intellectual value, and increasingly to one side only. We are trying to create more and more scholars, and if our kids are not cut out for it, they’ll even be given medicine to see whether or not they’ll be able to fit it. And all this is done by those who claim to have their children’s best interest at heart.

No matter how much I believe that technology has got to offer to education – and I do think it’s a very powerful tool in education – I just can’t label students, or people, according to the age they’ve been born and assume one size fits all. Digital natives, digital immigrants… the fact that we live in a world which is a lot more digital than the world of yore doesn’t mean we should label our children and ourselves. Everyone is capable of learning new tools as long as they give it a try, and once you get it going, it only gets easier – how many grown ups of your PLN have only recently started using the Internet and are already literate in anything related to it? And the more they learn, the faster and easier it is for them to navigate in this new, digital world.

Labels are made for clothes, not for people. I can’t say all my students like Twilight, I can’t say they all enjoy playing football, and I can’t say they all like Justin Bieber, so why should I label them all digital natives or even conceive of them as tech savvy? Besides, there are still a whole bunch of people who haven’t even seen a computer in their lives. What of them? Should they just be cast aside? Shouldn’t education be inclusive? Oh, but this is for another post… I’ll leave it here. Hope you got till the end of the post! :)

PS: Perhaps it would also be nice to have a look at this book, even if you don’t agree with its content. :)

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  1. September 8, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Henrick,

    You raise some really interesting points and thought I´d pick up on one or two.

    Digital native vs immigrant: Yes Mark Prensky coined these terms. So, I think according to him, neither of us are “digital natives” as such.

    Like you, I don´t like labels. Maybe it´s because dichotomies irritate me – I rather think it´s a simplistic cop out. Nothing is so clear cut. How on earth could people like you and I, who´ve lived through the creation and introduction of so many new technologies be immigrants? For God´s sake, we´ve had to live and adapt ourselves during these last 20 years. The younger generation haven´t really had to adapt to anything much….they were born with it all. Don´t we as educators know that a push for change can lead to learning? And much more effective learning at that when it´s through experience?

    I also think that the wonderful thing about technology is that there is so much of it around and so many different ways of relating to it that the choice of which technology you adopt or are keen on is immense. So, this makes people at the same time “novices” & “experts”.

    And I think this is the really exciting perspective of technology in education & for education: we will never quite know what to expect in class from our learners – there´ll always be a challenge for us and for them. And isn´t this perspective deliciously subversive and exciting for educators who do like a challenge?

    I think Prensky certainly got everyone thinking when he came up with these terms. I think it worked for a while. I no longer think it fits the world today – I think we´ve moved on. I think Prensky has also moved on to make other points about the relationship of education, teachers and technology (although having had the chance to talk to him when he came over this year, I do think he has an overly North American view of things and he would do well to understand a bit better other world contexts).

    I think you´re 100% right when you refer to the need to think: technology without thinkers won´t get anyone anywhere.

    Looking forward to the post on technological / educational inclusion.

    • September 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Valéria,

      First of all: Phew! Finally had the time to start replying to at least some of the comments. Awfully sorry it’s taken me so long, but I’m up to my eyes in work this week.. :)

      Just like this new generation didn’t have to adapt to anything, it doesn’t mean they already know everything. I couldn’t agree more! There’s a lot more learning that takes place through experience than to exposure alone. Besides, if left to their own devices, people have a tendency to choose the soft option and not to try new things unless it’s necessary. I guess we can say it’s the idea of early adopters and followers. The followers are the majority, and they will always wait to see whether it’s worth the effort to learn what the early adopters have been using. What if there are not enough early adopters, then?

      Challenge is indeed one of the most exciting things educators find in classrooms. And the understanding that each individual is unique is what is relevant for us to appreciate everything that students bring to class on a daily basis, right?

      It’s very nice to hear we’re on the same page here! As usual, I loved your insightful comment! :)

      I’ll write the post on inclusion as soon as possible.

      Many thanks again!

  2. Cecilia Coelho
    September 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Henrick!

    I have a hard time simply accepting generalizations or absolute truths – which seems to be your case as well. So it the whole digital natives / digital immigrants labels bother me a bit too. But I have a few thoughts on the issue that will go against what you said – just a little.

    The way I understand it, both labels aim at generalizing the attitude towards technology of certain age groups: people who were born after the digital age boom and people who caught it while young. You and I would fall on the same category I think – the digital immigrants. But there’s something that needs to be said, which is we (as so many other we know) are not the average immigrant. I read what you said about your childhood and teenage years, always around and interested in technology. It sounded a lot like my own childhood and teenage years. The first computer we had in our house was a TK-85 (if I am not mistaken, the one before the TK-2000 you mentioned. We moved to the 2000, then to an expert, then to a real computer. We ran programs with a cassette player (oh! the screeching!!!). I played with Mud when many people had never heard of the internet. I had an email in 93, before that I went through everything: BBS, ICQ, mIrc… you name it.

    But I was an exception among my school friends – especially because I was a girl. so, yeah, I think I’m pretty savvy when it comes to technology, and I’m certainly not afraid of it and pick things up pretty quickly. But I do believe I am an exception. I see that when I look around me in the Teacher’s Room and see how there are so few teachers who actually understand and feel comfortable with technology. And those who do work well with and like technology usually have stories similar to yours and mine. I guess what I am trying to say is that the same way there are students who just pick up on English, have no problem with the pronunciation of words, little accentand all while others work so hard, struggle and still can’t get there – so there are people our age who struggle with technology (from where I stand, the majority) while others have no problem at all.

    And I can apply the same rationale to the so-called digital natives. I think that the idea here is that these kids were born around all this technology, so it’s all very natural to them. They may not like it or use it, but they don’t feel threatened by it, and usually have no difficulty in picking up the pace once they start using it. I see that when I see my 2 kids around technology. My 5-year-old has an email and uses it frequently, programs Sky to record his favorite programs, uses thebinternet quite naturally, as any other kind of technology that comes his way. Because he was born and is growing surrounded by it – he doens’t know a world without it. It just is.

    So, yes, I agree with you that there are many digital natives who are not that good with technology. I have seen it too often. We use e-portfolios as the evaluation tool in our BNC and sometimes when I take my students to sign up and start the semester’s e-folio (they have a new one every semester) I come across a couple of students who don’t even have an email account. I almost thought it was a joke the first time it happened. But at the same time this is more common to take place in groups with older, adult students. proportionally we have a lot more adults who struggle with technology than teens. And because I see it this way, even though I hate lables, I can’t disagree with Mark Prensky’s terminology.

    But you said it all when you wrote ” Everyone is capable of learning new tools as long as they give it a try, and once you get it going, it only gets easier”. As most things in life, with persistance, dedication and drive we can accomplish anything. Or almost anything.

    Hey, I know I’ve already said it, but here it goes again: Congrats on your Braz-Tesol, election!!! May you do great things and inspire many :-)

    • September 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Cecília,

      First of all, I’m awfully sorry it’s taken me this long to reply. Things have been pretty hectic this past week.

      I’d like to use one of your sentences to start my reply:

      “when it comes to technology, and I’m certainly not afraid of it and pick things up pretty quickly.”

      I guess the idea of not being afraid is paramount here. I’ve also seen people who only started using the computer after they’ve reached old age and can use it as if they’ve always had them. What I notice is that those who can’t use it well are usually afraid of making a mistake and breaking it down. Hmm.. as you mentioned learners of languages, could this be because they (people who are afraid of technology) have always been told off when they were young and tried to use something they considered very expensive and delicate? Just wondering…

      Coming back, the main problem, then, is that since the youth have always known the world as it is, they just take everything for granted. If you are one of those who knows a mobile phone was really expensive and fragile when they first appeared, you’re more likely to still think of such gadgets as something that will break easily.

      Thanks a bunch for sharing this and I don’t think your thoughts go against mine. We might say one thing complements the other. I just don’t like to say there’s this idea of a whole generation that excels in technology while our generation struggles to learn things. Once a sutdent of mine told me that he only bothers to learn things on the computer for two different reasons: a) personal interest; and b) if all his friends were using this new software or tool. His claim is that teens (just like all of us, I guess) will only go through the mental effort of learning something new if they see a point in that. Most of them are more than happy with today’s phone and TV, namely MSN, Orkut/Facebook, and Youtube. :)

      Oh, and I hope I can count on you if I need any kind of assistance with Braz-TESOL matters. Your words always give me some food for thought!

      Thanks for the comment! :)

  3. Bill Gx
    September 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

    My experience with the so-called “digital natives” is that they are given much more credit than is due. What has really happened is technology has gotten much easier to use. Some from this generation have done absolutely amazing things but most are mere consumers of the tech that’s out there. Most of my students come to me with little notion of how to be a contributor/creator and I’m constantly working to change this. If technology is to be empowering it can only come through self expression. We live in a world where nearly anyone with something to say can be heard. The sad part is, most are content to be passive consumers.

    • September 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Bill,

      As I said in the comments above, I’m really sorry it’s taken me this long to reply.

      And, second, yes, I do see what you mean. Most of my students spend the vast majority of their time in front of computers and/or smartphones. However, they know very little about how they can communicate with the whole world more effectively. And most of them are happy with their MSN accounts and don’t want to learn anything else. We definitely have got to make use of technology to fulfill one of the goals of education: to empower our learners.

      Many thanks for the comment! :)

  4. September 9, 2010 at 4:04 am

    I have to say I’m absolutely with you on this one, Henrick.

    I’ve read some of Prensky’s stuff and there is actually a fair bit of what he has to say that I agree with. However, I’ve never really bought into the “Digital Natives”, “Digital Immigrants” thing; it’s too broad a generalisation for my taste, and as someone who has been pretty actively involved in the digital revolution from the beginning and who had a walk-on part in shaping the digital world we live in (working in the computer games industry back in the 1980’s) it seems to me to be a tad silly to label someone like me a “Digital Immigrant”.

    Although I accept the point Cecilia makes that older, “Digital Native” types are the exception rather than the rule, my experience (both as a teacher, and as a parent) suggests that many young people don’t fit the profile, either.

    In theory my son(of thoroughbred geek parentage, who could wield a joystick before he could talk) should be an archetypical “Digital Native”, but his interest in Web 2.0 appears to be pretty non-existent. When I asked him if he would like an i-Phone a while back his response was “don’t waste your money mum – I’d only use it for texting and making calls.”

    Another reason why I don’t care for this particular set of labels if I’m being totally honest is that I find them ageist; and the older I get, the more that hearing people using them grates. As you so rightly point out, people are lifelong learners and it feels wrong to me to make assumptions about people’s digital competencies and their ability to learn new things, solely on the basis of how old they happen to be.

    Sue

    • September 14, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      Hi Sue,

      What else can I say? I absolutely agree with everything you said! Thanks a bunch for sharing your son’s example as well. I think it’s a very good example of individual differences regardless of age, generation, or any other kind of label.

      Awfully sorry it took me this long to reply. :(

      Cheers!

  5. Mark
    September 9, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Hi Henrik!

    A blog on technology (partly) which I can relate too! The technology situation in Brazil sounds very much like it is here in Mexico – smart phones, netbooks etc. are horribly over-priced and although not exactly invisible, hardly as ubiquitous as they appear to be in other parts of the world (based on tech/ICT-focused blog posts I read) and so not really exploitable in the classroom just yet. Indeed, I read some of these great teaching ideas – 20 ways to use Twitter in the classroom or 8 great ways to use iphones in the classroom – and wonder when t I’ll actually be able to use some of this stuff.

    Anyway Henrik, I know that wasn’t the main point of your post.

    Regarding the main point – you’re of course right and even if we I did have a wonderful class of gadget-laden “digital natives”, and wonderfully hi-tech classroom, I would still need to take into consideration my learners’ different cognitive and affective learning preferences – just because they all have smart phones doesn’t mean they’ll benefit from the same smart phone classroom tasks!

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:01 am

      Hi Mark,

      I guess we tend to get carried away in the technology in education debate that we forget to look at it from a more down-to-earth perspective. The cost of some gadgets in Brazil is simply ridiculous, especially for the average Brazilian.

      And you hit the nail on the head there. If teachers don’t learn how to truly listen to their learners, they end up going back to the one-size fits all approach.

      Thanks for the comment and for letting me know Brazil is not alone regarding the absurd cost of gadgets. :)

      Awfully sorry I couldn’t reply to this sooner. :(

  6. Bobbe
    September 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Hey Rick!! Just came back to twitter after a long hiatus and your post popped up, so I thought I’d share some thoughts =).

    I won’t really go into the terminology discussion of digital natives/immigrants, both because I think the debate has been pretty thoroughly exhausted in the previous comments, but also because I think you raise a much more interesting issue there, which technology was supposed to help solve, but (to my mind) has so far done little to be of any avail: the fact that we are raising our students to be academics.

    “We are trying to create more and more scholars, and if our kids are not cut out for it, they’ll even be given medicine to see whether or not they’ll be able to fit it.”

    Truer words have seldom been spoken, even in this very day and age. If you don’t agree with me, try watching this video on TED:

    If it doesn’t make you go a bit o_O at some point, you have my regards. What he is suggesting there may even sound outrageous at times, probably because we are so used to thinking of education of something so entirely different, but is it?

    Is our educational system really preparing our young to face the world they will live in? Is technology helping them?

    My personal feeling is that technology has been able to drive our students to be much more sociable than most of us could be at their age sitting on a chair inside a room at home, and that is no mean feat. But we have honestly yet to see the revolution technology was to bring to education (if it does so one day at all). I believe technology in a classroom is a very effective engagement tool when we use it appropriately, but what exactly are we engaging our students into? The same square box with chairs and a “knowledge relay” we could find in a school 200 years ago? I do think of online classes, which are a welcome addition, by all means, but which to me looks like a shinier box, with a less physical relay.

    But let me not finish this post in such a pessimistic note. I do, however, think that we can take advantage of our student’s propensity to be acquainted with all the technology (natively or otherwise) that is so ubiquitous in their world in new and innovative ways. An example?

    School of One. A very interesting project recently adopted by the NY School Network to tailor lessons to each individual student’s performance, and that adapts to their results on-the-go through a very ingenious algorithm.

    I would recommend going directly to their website, but it kinda sucks, the videos are interesting, but pretty boring. The guys at the Freakonomics podcast described it and contextualized it much better.

    [audio src="http://dts.podtrac.nytimes.com/redirect.mp3/podcasts.nytimes.com/podcasts/2010/05/12/Freak_105_Final.mp3" /]

    After that you can take a look at the School of One website, but I recommend you listen to the podcast first.

    http://schools.nyc.gov/community/innovation/SchoolofOne/default.htm

    By the way, Rick, can we use HTML tags in comments?

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:08 am

      Hi Bobbe,

      Long time no see! It’s always nice to see your comments as they’re always jam packed with information and related links. I must say I haven’t had the time to go through everything. Heck, I couldn’t even reply to all of the comments until today! But I’ve certainly bookmarked everything and I’ll take a very close look at them.

      Your comments make me think back to what the purpose of schooling and education is. Is it to prepare people to live in society? Is it to prepare them for what they’ll face at work only? Should schools also worry about values or is this the obligation of the family? Technology is obviously an asset in today’s world, but many people still don’t know how to make use of it properly. How ever, it’s bound to be so ubiquitous that one day we’ll look back and this kind of debate will be considered pointless, if you ask me. As I see it, the core question is exactly what you mentioned in the comments: what do we expect our children to be? Why do we send them to schools?

      Many thanks for the thorough comment, man! Really appreciate it! :)

  7. Cecilia Coelho
    September 10, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Hello again Henrick!

    I just read a blog post (suggested by @englishraven) that immediately reminded me of you and your post here. It completely goes along what you said. So I thought you’d like to read it:

    http://www.theage.com.au/technology/blogs/untangling-the-web/talkin-bout-the-digital-generation/20100730-10ywx.html

    Hope you enjoy it! Have a great day!

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:12 am

      Hi Cecília,

      Loved the article. I’ll even paste something here:

      “OK, new social structures do arise when, say, technology makes connecting and sharing with others simpler and faster. But at our core we are social beings (thus the rise of social networking); crooks will try to dupe the gullible (hence Nigerian email scams); kids will continue to bully each other (at least when it’s done online there’s a record and the perpetrators can be easily collared); privacy is an issue both online and off.”

      Cheers!

  8. September 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Henrich,

    I’ve written pages about this and feel the same. It shouldn’t be a label and should be more fluid, about a particular tool or ability – not a generalization.

    Dave White, a great thinker, has championed the terminology “Digital Resident , Digital Visitor” See his whole presentation. http://tallblog.conted.ox.ac.uk/index.php/2009/10/14/visitors-residents-the-video/

    Of note are the comments and also how he has to tiptoe around Prensky and copyright – LOL I”ll leave it at that.

    cheers and good thoughts,

    David

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:15 am

      Hi David,

      As I said above, I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to reply to comments this time. It was really impossible for me to have done it sooner. :(

      As usual, you always have an interesting link to share to enrich and broaden the discussion. I remember I’d read about the terms digital resident and visitor, but I had never gone too deep into it nor had I watched this presentation. Many thanks for sharing it! :)

      Cheers!

  9. September 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Henrick, I think the point that Prensky makes is more of the environment that kids are born into and not the way they use the environment (at least that was my interpretation). Digital Natives are native because they have grown up in a world the way you did, surrounded by technology. It was an expected way of life. Digital Immigrants slowly acquired technology but it wasn’t as natural to their environment. Everyone will use technology differently, for different purposes, and different outcomes regardless of if they are a native or an immigrant. But, natives are more likely to use technology without fearing it. They are more likely to use technology because it has become an expected part of the environment.

    • September 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

      Technology didn’t suddenly arrive like a bolt out of the blue around 30 years or so ago, though, surely? Previous generations grew up surrounded by the technology that preceded the technology we had in the 1980’s, in the same way that technology in the 1980’s shaped the technology we have today.

      If we accept Prensky’s point, then we would need to move the goalposts every time technology evolved into something substantially different than the technology which went before it.

      Now that we’ve moved onto Web 2.0, does that make anybody born before we started using the internet to create content “Digital Immigrants”? If we apply the same logic, then it seems to me it ought to…

      Welcome to the club :-;

      Sue

      • September 15, 2010 at 12:26 am

        Hi Sue,

        Once again we see eye to eye on this. This bit of your comment said it all:

        “Now that we’ve moved onto Web 2.0, does that make anybody born before we started using the internet to create content “Digital Immigrants”? If we apply the same logic, then it seems to me it ought to…”

        Cheers!

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:24 am

      Hi Kelly,

      I see your point there, and I don’t think you’re wrong. However, it’s more a matter of getting used to your surroundings than to have been born surrounded by those things. I don’t think digital immigrants acquired technology that slowly, after all, it was the immigrants the ones who brought technology to the surroundings of the natives, right? I mean, hadn’t it been for my dad being so interested in computers, I’d never have been exposed to it so soon. However, the fact that I started using the computer at the age of 5 didn’t mean I could do understand it better than my dad. It also doesn’t mean I didn’t fear using it at times, as there were lots of problems that appeared that I had to rely on my dad to solve. I still see the same thing these days with young people – some know a lot more than others, and these are the ones the former seek in times of need. One thing that’s called my attention recently was the amount of times I heard my students saying “I don’t know” when I asked them how to get the computer to do something.

      But I agree with you when you say it’s become an expected part of the environment.

      As usual, loved the comments! :) Awfully sorry I couldn’t reply to it sooner. :(

  10. September 12, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Hi Everyone,
    Good thinking! I have a recent talk–TED style from my current colleague who sheds some light about Learning 2.0. It is beyond native v. immigrant….around minute 8 it really gets going–enjoy!

    http://www.thethinkingstick.com/my-tedx-talk-communities-trump-content

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:27 am

      Hi Susi,

      Always a pleasure to see you around! :)

      Thanks a bunch for sharing this talk.

      Cheers!

  11. September 14, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Hahaha! That’s what I wanted to say in the t-shirt I helped designing for sigma’s Cultural Week. I couldn’t agree more with you. I can’t say I’m not into computers, I just love the internet, I love photoshop… But this is not the only thing I have in my life. I love reading, I love writing, I love watching tv (ok, this I do in the computer hahaha. And as you said, not everyone likes computers as much as I do. Take Lara as an example! And of course there is the other side, some people like it a lot more than I do, such as Pedro and my brother himself!

    I just think the concept of digital natives is much more related to the fact that we were born in the middle of technology and wanting or not, it makes it a lot easier to us to deal with it. Also it must be related to the fact that technology had a lot more influence in our early lives than in our father’s…

    That’s what I think of it…
    See ya!
    Shimabuko

    • September 15, 2010 at 12:32 am

      Hi Shimabuko,

      Really nice to see you here! :)

      As you’re one of the so-called natives, your opinion and insight do contribute a lot to the discussion. The way I see it, and I guess you agree with it, it doesn’t matter when you were born, what matters are your interests. It’s obvious that, whether we want it or not, technology is more and more an integral part of our lives. However, this doesn’t mean everyone’s relationship with technology will be the same, right?!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Cheers! :)

  12. Lara G.
    September 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    As my name was mentioned by Shimabuko, I would like to make a comment as well..

    I really wish I could deal better with computers and technology in general. You have already showed us in classroom lots of fantastic internet instruments and resources and all I could think of was that my life would be much easier if I knew how to handle them. But the truth is that most of the time I don’t feel like learning how to explore the internet, not to mention that I do not have the skills required for it.
    It is undeniable that computers are part of my generation’s lives. But as you said, we cant just simply say that everyone likes it and uses it all the time. Life is much more than internet and television, and being addicted to it is a stupid thing to do. Plus, I know that one day I will have to learn how to use technological gadgetry and when this time comes, I will probably enjoy it.As you said, once again, the deepest we know about something, the more we like it.

    See you on Friday! xoxo

    • September 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Lara,

      It is really nice to hear the opinions you guys whose lives some of us, old educators, are thinking about have. I guess what is going to happen in the future is that technology won’t be as intrusive as it is nowadays. I’m not sure whether you watched Fantástico today, but they were talking about the house of the future and how our relationship with gadgets will be like. People will start using technology regardless of their liking it or not – technology will simply be there. And the use that people are going to make of this technology is not as easily predictable. Some of us are happy with making phone calls with our mobile phones, others have got to use them for web 2.0 services, texting, calendar and all sorts of things. We’ll have the options, and gadgets will be a lot more user friendly so that people won’t have to actually think about how to use this or that. Oh, this is already happening every time they launch a new product – ease of use is always a concern. In the past people had to learn a bit about DOS or Basic in order to use computers. Nowadays you don’t even need to know what that is. Installing software was a pain in the past – now you have packages that only require a double-click.

      Many thanks for your comment!

      See you Friday! :)

  13. Pedro
    September 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Regarding last Friday class, I just couldn’t believe the (ENORMOUS) post this subject has become! So I google henrick’s blog and found it, the digital natives post.

    I started to read it and, as more I read, more I agreed with you! People just can’t believe that technology belongs to everybody’s life. People are different and each one of us have different interests and their must be respected.

    My father usually says that, no matter what, you must always respect another one’s opinion (if it’s not against the law, of course), even if you totally dislike and disagree with it. We live in a democracy and each one of us has the right to think anything we want to. So, if I don’t like to play soccer but like to program for iTouch/iPhone (using Objective-C) that’s fine. And if my classmate completely hates computers, but wants to be a writer (just using paper and pencil), that’s completely ok too.

    As Shimabuko said, technology is much more accessible nowadays and it kind of raises the ‘pressure’ against these that don’t like it. For example, I have a classmate, Fred, which was talking about his PC latter this week. By the middle of the conversation, he said that his computer didn’t have Microsoft Office because he didn’t know how to install it; 3 or 4 of my classmates started to make jokes about him just because we wasn’t that close to PCs…

    Just to end, I personally believe that everyone wants to have a gadget; some will try and won’t get used to it (and ‘ll stop using), but some will incorporate it inside their lifes. People should try everything before saying “I don’t like it” (drugs are the only exception).

    • October 4, 2010 at 11:39 am

      Hi Pedro,

      It was really kind of you to comment here. Just like Shimabuko and Lara, you also represent the very people the debate is focused on.

      I couldn’t agree more with you – respect and tolerance are key. And I can’t see such a thing as a whole generation of like-minded people. Diversity is the spice of life, and it’s only normal to accept that there are many people who aren’t as much into computers and technology as others. On the other hand, I believe most software companies are working really hard at making their products more and more user-friendly. It seems to me they’ve already got it that they’ll only reach those who aren’t that keen on technology if they make it really straightforward and simple to use. That’s what most users are looking for: accessibility and ease of usage.

      Cheers!

  14. February 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    What’s an “Apple Master Plus”?

    • February 17, 2012 at 8:57 am

      As far as I remember, that was the label on the computer we had at home when I was really young. Perhaps it was a version of the Apple II…

  1. April 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

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