Rate of Adoption Precludes "Natives?"

A colleague is attending Educause Learning Initiative 2009 Annual Conference and is live blogging Michael Wesch’s keynote address. One of Wesch’s comments struck a nerve with a line of thought I’d heard recently elsewhere.

There are really no natives to the net. So many of the technologies are less than 4 years old. We are all in the same boat, faculty and students.

None of our current K-20 students have grown up with YouTube or Facebook or Twitter or iPods or RSS Aggregators or Virtual Environments etc. Many of the potentially, educationally disruptive technologies have surfaced with “Web 2.0” in the last 3-5 years. The very youngest of our K-20 students may have grown up with their parents using those technologies, and they may have vague familiarity with the technologies, but with the noted exception of a virtual environment like Webkinz World they likely aren’t personally using those technologies.  In short, there is no such thing as a student that has been surrounded their entire life or educational career by social networks and social media. The question this raises for me is, “Will the web and technology continue to evolve at a rate so quick that it will keep us off balance indefinitely? Have we reached the point where the “time to adoption” has reached a half life that precludes having in a classroom a substantial number of users familiar with current technologies?” Your thoughts?

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