I have to admit that I’m a contrarian sometimes, and this Digital Native Digital Immigrant thing was cute for a while, even useful for some awareness raising, but at the end of the day, I think it’s false. The premise is that kids are growing up with a digital world, and that the multi-tasking nature of their lives is different leading to different expectations. The more sophisticated version of the argument is based in Vygotskian forms of psychology, where the tools you use change the way you think.
Consequently, we see calls for more use of media, games, community, etc. There’s a push for shorter, more engaging content, less verbosity and more ‘presentation’, etc. All good things, but for the wrong reasons.
This is a topic I’m willing to be wrong on, but so far I don’t see it. The extension to the Vygotskian argument is that it would have to be a whole new culture, but this sub-culture is still grounded in the prevailing mind-set of 21st century earth. So, wherever it’s flourishing, it’s still not fundamentally different.
Here’s why: we still have the same wetware, and we’re still processing the same languages and viewpoints. It’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. Yes, there are and will be changes from an environment where more people can share their viewpoint (and see the controversy over Andrew Keen’s view that the internet is destroying culture), but it’ll be gradual, and from a learning point of view what’s best is still what’s best.
The funny thing is, all the stuff they’re touting for the digital generation is really what’s best for the older generation too (ecommunity, immersive simulations, rich media). We just couldn’t do it before. So it’s a fun argument to lobby for doing what’s right, but it’s based upon a false premise and that I can’t abide.
It’s ironic that I, who’ve generally been a rebel (e.g. my views are further apart from the mainstream than either major party is from each other), am coming down with such a ‘establishment’ view, but it’s what my reason tells me. I’m happy to be wrong, so let me know where I’ve missed it.