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New Media Literacies

Henry Jenkins tackles new media literacies, tackling the notion of digital natives and digital immigrants (a distinction which is unfortunately based on age, when it should be based on mindset of learners. I know many young learners who have very shallow understanding of technology…and older learners who have an amazing comprehension of the technology landscape).

While some have argued that these new media skills represent the different mindsets of “digital natives and digital immigrants”, that analogy breaks down for us on several levels. First, the participatory cultures we are describing are ones where teens and adults interact but with less fixed and hierarchical relations than found in formal education. It is a space where youth and adults learn from each other, but it would be wrong to see young people as creating these new institutions and practices totally outside of engagement with adults. Second, the “digital natives” analogy implies that these skills are uniformly possessed by all members of this generation; instead, young people have unequal access to the technologies and cultural practices out of which these skills are emerging and so we are facing a growing participation gap in terms of familiarity with basic tools or core cultural competencies.