[SLED] Are you an OLD Digital Native?
eloisepasteur at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 06:45:07 PST 2009
My crystal ball melted :)
Glad it was helpful though.
On 4 Feb 2009, at 12:37, Bruce Sommerville wrote:
> You're a wizard, Eloise, as Watson would have said to Holmes - you
> are spot on in your diagnosis of my background, discipline, skill
> set, and digital immigrant status. In fact, I was trained in the
> sciences, but much later did a postgrad degree in an
> interdisciplinary area that branched into literature, and I suddenly
> found myself struggling to gain that new context. The result was
> less than satisfactory, but it expanded my outlook no end.
> Thanks very much for that explanation of the importance of context.
> It seems that this somewhat arbitrary Digital Native/Digital
> Immigrant dividing line has limited applicability - like most
> dichotomies, it is probably useful but simplistic, as others have
> pointed out.
> I like your Digital-SOL group because it acknowledges the importance
> of providing (and acquiring) a formal framework of how to acquire
> new skills; our educational endeavours as teachers being directed
> not so much at imparting knowledge, but teaching our students how to
> acquire it for themselves.
> All the best,
> Bruce Sommerville.
> On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Eloise Pasteur <eloisepasteur at gmail.com
> > wrote:
> You may be right Bruce, but I think you're eliding two different
> There is certainly a trained and practised skillset that requires
> maturity, and applies in any discipline. Some proportion of that
> skillset may be transferable, but there is still jargon, base
> knowledge of any discipline, the ability to rapidly sift based on
> the accumulated knowledge in the field, the ability to critically
> think in context etc. that doesn't transfer. I don't know what your
> discipline is, but from what you've said I'll take a wild guess that
> you're a scientist or engineer. So imagine you retire this year for
> some reason, and decide from that reckless spirit that pulls you
> into SL to go and study for a degree in European Literature. I'm
> sure you're pedantic, precise, a critical thinker and all those
> other skills to a very high level in your discipline.
> Suddenly you find yourself adrift in a discipline where your paper-
> writing and report-writing skills are not incredibly useful: if,
> like me and every life scientist I've ever met, you don't quote your
> sources, but you do refer to them, you will struggle (as I did when
> doing my teaching qualification) to quote your sources - but this is
> an essential part of working in the humanities and arts. You will
> read a paper, and whilst you may be able to pick apart illogical
> elements in the argument better than your fellow students, you don't
> have the background knowledge to assess if this is a rather boring
> retrenching of an old argument, a well-considered, careful,
> conservative small statement or a massively controversial shaking of
> the academic tree. (You may well have colleagues who can quickly
> answer this question for you, but you don't have it of yourself).
> Your skills of careful observation and attention to detail will
> suddenly appear to desert you - not because you have actually lost
> them, but you don't have a context and breadth of experience to
> determine what is important to notice, which details deserve
> attention and which are smoke and mirrors. The chances are, I'm
> fairly sure, high that you will learn the context to allow you to
> apply them faster than many of your fellow 20-year old students.
> However, I suspect you did that when you were 20 too. People, like
> both of us, that remain in academia tend to find the skills and
> knowledge sets that are required/rewarded in academic circles ones
> that are relatively easy and/or rewarding to acquire. If you did a
> long enough study and kept the records, I wonder how you would
> compare to the 20 year olds that in another 20 years or so will be
> in the equivalent position to your current one - they're the group
> of your real peers.
> There is an element of age required to develop maturity in a field,
> but age and maturity in an academic field doesn't necessarily
> transfer when compared to those who will be leading academics in
> their own right in the years to come.
> However, the digitial native/digital immigrants originally says
> you're (I suspect) an immigrant, I'm an immigrant, everyone is who
> was born before 1970 was. Born 31st December 1969 11:50 pm and
> working in computer science, HCI and the like for all your
> professional life and you're at a disadvantage in all things
> computer-related to your twin born 1st January 1970 at 12:05 am who
> has never turned on a computer on in their life, simply by virtue of
> being a critically placed 15 minutes older. Reductio ad absurdam is
> still a useful logical tool, and Perensky's statement does reduce to
> this absurdity at the extreme.
> When I was 20 I couldn't have been doing a degree in molecular
> genetics, because the discipline didn't exist. 20 year olds
> certainly can have opportunities we didn't. But to claim by virtue
> of being 20 they're more suited to using a computer simply because
> they're 20, does that really make sense?
> On 3 Feb 2009, at 23:19, Bruce Sommerville wrote:
>> As one who has not studied this distinction between digital
>> natives and digital immigrants formally, I've followed this
>> discussion with great interest. I would like to make an amateurish
>> contribution based on my teaching experience - and please inform me
>> of the academic stance on this obvious point:
>> One aspect in which the year of birth may count is simply that
>> students are young and have yet to acquire the broad and deeply
>> ingrained skills that we, as adults, have. I find that the areas in
>> which my students (aged ~20) need development are their skills of
>> careful observation, attention to detail, and critical thinking (I
>> count these as particularly important for Science and Engineering
>> students). In short, their brains and minds are immature. Lack of
>> these skills will affect every aspect of their study, including
>> their use of technology, and can only be overcome after a long
>> period of study, perhaps even extending to post-graduate study. It
>> will take years of hard work and formal education for my students
>> to become as pedantic as I am, and sometimes I wouldn't wish it on
>> Bruce Sommerville.
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