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'Digital natives' is a dangerous term

It's vouge these days to talk about how the younger generation will turn the media world upside down, digital natives as they are. And yet, this statement is paradoxical, as too many journalism students, digital natives or not, seem to "aspire to work in some newsroom ca 1973". Jill Walker Rettberg highlights a deeper problem, which chimes with my own experiences:

"...despite today’s students having grown up with technology, and despite their using the net extensively, they still lack very basic skills for using the net in learning at a university level - and the ways teens use the internet differently from older users (e.g. games, IM, social networking) can almost hide the fact that many of them lack skills seen as basic in what we oldies call digital literacy - such as being able to find relevant information, evaluate it, synthesize it and present it. Of course it’s also possible that they’ll simply redefine 'digital literacy' so it means something else once they’re adults, but I somehow doubt it. I think actually the idea of 'digital natives' is dangerous - it lets us as teachers and parents off the hook."

For the record I should say that I'm by no means a techie – I know some advanced stuff, am ignorant of some basic stuff and basically just learn as I go along – but then, neither do I belong to the generation of digital natives, missed that one by a year:-)


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