Who Misread @dtapscott’s Growing Up Digital?

My hopeful dissertation topic focuses on computer literacy skills of community college learners; generally, there seems to be an assumption that early college learners are inherently tech-savvy and computer literate.  I believe that assumption exists in the mainstream consciousness – this past week I heard a local morning show radio personality comment, “They [teenagers] are all tech-savvy.” At the very least, the assumption pervades much of higher education’s consciousness. Many examples exist, through news reports and public announcements, of curricular, budgetary, and policy decisions being made by educational institutions at all levels based on that assumption.

One of the sources cited by researchers in the field as being a core advocate of the inherently technology adept “net generation learner” is Donald Tapscott’s Growing Up Digital.  I’ve been reading much of that text, with a focus on sections dedicated to “N-Gen” and learning.

In short, I believe many of the overstated assumptions regarding the technological skill of the Net Generation Learner may be inaccurately attributed to Tapscott. Continue reading

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Palfrey & Gasser’s Born Digital

Reading for my dissertation literature review, engaged Palfrey & Gasser’s Born Digital.  Honestly, I was expecting nothing beyond more run of the mill net generation rhetoric; I certainly encountered some of that, but I also was pleasantly surprised by their chapter on “Learners.” 

In the selected bibliography, Palfrey & Gasser note Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital as the inspiration for the text and place this text squarely in the same category of pursuit as previous net generation learner texts: Don Tapscott, Marc Prensky, and Oblinger & Oblinger.

Certainly, Palfrey & Gasser repeat the foundation of the “digital native” rhetoric: Continue reading

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PLEs are Educationally Delicious, EAT-IT 2009

I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Twin Cities area to attend and present at Emerging Academic Technologies and Instructional Techniques, otherwise known as EAT-IT (hence the presentation topic). Innovations in e-Education at Lake Superior College and Inver Hills Community College hosted, and Barry Dahl (twitter, blog, blog) organized and coordinated the event.

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Dede does *not* advocate "Millenials"

I know I’ve seen Chris Dede cited in reference to advocating or supporting the “net generation” or “millenials” argument: current early college age learners have distinct learning styles and digital expectations.  After reading the piece I believe is cited most often, I believe those citing Dede in that manner have misread his work.

Another oversimplification of the generational frameworks for learning styles is seeing computers and telecommunications as a single medium that fosters a particular approach to learning . . . it’s an infrastructure that supports many media, including [such] disparate applications. (Dede, 2005, p. 6). Continue reading

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IBM’s Mentoring Network via Facebook

Continuing in the Ilich-vein from the last couple of posts.  An article at Chronicle Wired describes a new, Facebook-based mentoring program IBM will be piloting this Fall:

Through a Facebook application, which IBM plans to offer in a pilot program in the United States this fall, students like Mr. Vogt, a sophomore at Pace University,  can find mentors to give them practical or career advice, or oversee student projects, said Tim Willeford, a spokesman for IBM.

“We have existing mentorship programs within IBM, so it’s a natural extension that we’re trying to connect experts of multiple disciplines to university students,” Mr. Willeford said. “It’s one of the next steps in education.”

Students would log in to an application that would connect them to IBM experts with similar interests, skills, or career goals. Together they could contribute to message boards, create groups, or develop independent projects. Similar mentor programs have been offered in several countries, including India, Mr. Willeford said.

This touches directly on the ideas I’ve discovered recently in Ilich’s 1971 book, “Deschooling Society,” and it appears to be a very specific, although more narrow example of what Alan (Levine aka CogDog) suggested in his recent post. Continue reading

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