I’m not saying we should throw out the notion of the digital native. However, I do think we should question it. Although more students are entering schools more familiar with technology than their predecessors, it is unrealistic to expect them to know how and when to use tools right off the bat.
What I can appreciate about the term is that it shows recognition of the new problems and issues faced by educators in this time. Though I don’t think any cohort possess an innate inclination for technology, I do think that each group is growing up with a new approach and awareness of technology.
Each student comes from a unique background…so why do they deserve a blanketed term to describe their different abilities, interests and insecurities? I don’t want to abolish the idea of the digital native because it brings up questions like these.
These types of questions make us take a critical look at how we integrate technology into educational spaces and make way for student-centered practices (an awesome side-effect, if you ask me!).
Catelyn Cantrell is a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Florida and a member of the Omninox Publishing team in Gainesville, Florida, a developer of interactive guides for Advanced Placement® Courses. She is starting a master’s degree in English Education and taking steps towards a teaching career.