Digital Natives?

I’m working on a presentation detailing the extent to which the inner city kids (and possibly my new crop of students) have NOT been exposed to computers. It’s amazing, I am sure, but 10% of my students last year (N=98/9) had never touched a computer before my class.

The fact that I am working on a presentation on the topic made me particularly interested in an article from agent4change: Open University Research Explodes Myth of “Digital Natives.”

One paragraph read:

A total of 4,066 students responded to the questionnaire – 58.1 per cent, which is regarded as a good response rate. The age distribution, though, was remarkably uneven. 81.2 per cent of the over-seventies responded, but only 30.8 per cent of those in their twenties. Perhaps that’s understandable. What’s rather more counter-intuitive is that while over 60 per cent of the over-sixties chose to respond online rather than by post, only 46.4 per cent of those in their twenties did so.

I think it is somewhat ironic that the old folks were responding online while the younger folks did so less. It certainly suggests that the concept of digital immigrant also needs some work.

This year the population I am working with is significantly different from last year’s. Even instructors who focus on social justice and the plight of the poor don’t even consider that their students might not have unlimited texting. So apparently we will be doing a lot more tech and the expectation for use of tech within the classroom is significantly higher. I will also poll this year’s class to see how many have not been exposed to computers before. I will, however, be surprised if I even get one.

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