I am starting to wonder how many of my kids are really "digital natives." It seems to me that an awful lot of them really don't know what's on the Internet (besides myspace) and they don't really know how to transfer skills in one program or website to another. My kids were totally confused by blogger. Is this normal? I sort of overestimated their ability to figure out how to use a site because I thought they'd spent their lives on the computer so.... I'm just curious. Is this something the rest of you see often? Kids who fit into that "digital native" category, but really aren't digitally native? I'm almost wondering if it's something adults are pushing onto the kids because we can see what's out there to use. Thoughts?

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I have only just joined this community but this is an issue that has been burning my brain for quite some time . . . I haven't read all the discussion (I will!) but I am already compelled to throw in my 10 cents worth (which should probably be $1 given the global financial crisislol) . .

. . .I like the point Mathew made . . .kids do look to technology as the first place to solve a problem, in a sense they do 'think in technology' however it is obvious they still have a lot of the language to learn . . . and this idea sits nicely with Steve's point about not being afraid of the VCR . . . I still read the manual first whereas my teenage nephews just pick up and play . . . however they do not always think smart with the technology choices they make.


But to continue the analogy, if they knew everything they needed to know about the english language simply by learning to speak why then do we continue to teach english as a subject in to VCE/matriculation?? As an aunty and a teacher I find the children in my life often ask questions about technology - how it works, what they can do with it, where to find things/tools on the internet - that as 'natives' I would assume they know but clearly they still need someone to at least hold their hands while they walk on ground they are not totally familiar with.

At this stage in the Age of Technology I think the 'natives' and the 'tourists' actually each have part of the key . . . and still need to work together. I don't think we will truly have technology natives until this generation of children become parents!!
I find that my students only know social networking on the internet. Any other program and they are at a complete loss. I too found myself overestimating their ability based on assumptions that I made about their ability. I now take the time to go over everything, and have learned to not make assumptions about technology usage.
That word "assumptions" has come up a few times in a few posts. I think it's the right one, too. Adults sometimes mistake, in my mind, students lack of intimidation for excess of knowledge and skills. I don't think this is the case at all. No more than a student's ability to read and write conveys their deftness at literary analysis. While the former is necessary for the latter, it would be naive to mistake the two. This is why new literacies deserve their own place in schools' curricula, not simply relegated to the periphery, but infused into pedagogy.
- TLL

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