17 December 2008

Truth or Lie: Digital Natives

Recently, several individuals have published blog posts responding to various studies on "Digital Natives" and the use of technology. Mark Bullen at Net Gen Nonsense shared the results of a British study about college students and the use of technology. Basically, these studies are finding that effective use of technology is not as pervasive as we in education like to think.

I've said several times in the past few months that it seems that my students are LESS tech savvy than they were five years ago. Whereas many of my students used to view internet sources with some skepticism I am now hearing "well, it was published on the internet, so it must be accurate." I have students who don't know how to attach documents to emails (though most of them can now take care of this task).

On the other hand, I have also noticed that information consumption has changed. It is generally more difficult for students to get information from text, but seems to be easier for them to get it through audio or video.

Obviously, much research needs to be done about students' use of technology and their consumption of information before we can really determine what is going on. What teachers really need to know is how best to meet the needs of their students in an ever-changing classroom.