Saturday, March 28, 2009

CAL 2009: Digital natives

Captured live at #cal09, posted late.

Digital natives: Who are they and what do they look like?
Rebecca Eynon*, Ellen Helsper University of Oxford (Oxford Internet Institute)


What factors may describe a digital native? Is there an age factor.

If it is true that younger people work and learn in different ways, this has implications for education. Important to see how young people are using technology in their daily lives. There is some research that shows a higher proportion of young people use the Internet but are there significant differences in the way young people use new technology?

Research based on Oxford Internet Survey - the 2007 survey is based on responses from over 2000 people. General characteristics of digital natives were described. {But I missed the chance to copy them down! Curses. - DM}. Some aspects of the survey results show that age is a factor. For example, 14-17 year olds are the highest users of the Internet and are more likely to be surrounded by technology. When asked how skilled they are at using the internet, again, 14-17 year olds are more likely to say they are skilled. First port of call for information - again, 14-17 most likely to go to the Internet for more tasks. Multi-tasking by age also shows 14-17 as highest. However, there is not the dramatic drop that Prensky might suggest after 25. Main significant drop happens after 55.

Digital nativeness - age is an indicator, but so are other factors such as previous experience.

Activities online - shopping is the most common. Middle age group more likely to shop and do e-government type activities. Formal learning, fact checking and current affairs may also be age dependent. Age is important but many other factors are important too.

Younger people do tend to have access to a greater range if ICT, more likely to go to Internet for information online and more likely to multi task. However education, experience of using the Internet and breadth of Internet use are important. There is therefore some support of the digital native concept but age is not the only factor. In other ords, parents and teachers can learn to speak to digital natives. For example, online experiences need to be contextualised and this is an area where teachers could help.

2 comments:

Chris said...

Guess I must be 17 then. ;-)
Lovely word verification: daders

Anonymous said...

To some extend digital natives does make sense but age is for sure not the factor. It is also to say rather unfair for those people who were born on the year 1979 who are very capable doing multi-tasking and know how to use the surrounding technologies. Personally, I don't agree with the digital immagrant and native or even the Net generation concept as it is very and almost impossile to divide the two generations just like that...So Rebecca good job!!!