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Digital Natives

Last November, Chris Lott and I had a somewhat energetic chat on the whole concept of digital natives. I felt (and still do) that the term is not useful. Chris argued that the term is useful as a means of dialoguing about change and awakening educators to the impact of technology. It’s a good argument. The term is not valuable in what it describes, but is important in how it permits us to interact with each other and talk about changes. Apophenia’s discussion of digital natives is aligned with Chris’ argument: “Academics tend to err on the side of nuance and precision, eschewing generalizations and coarse labels. This is great for documenting cultural dynamics, but not so great for making interventions. Creating an impression, an image in the minds of those who are fearful requires more than accurate data. It requires a compelling story and a framework that can replace the boogie monster…Combatting pre-existing images requires more than accuracy, more than nuance. It requires either a new more-sticky image or a reworking of the original image.”