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Digital Native in a New Era: Apartheid or democracy

Keynote presentation at ICEL 2010, July 2010

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Transcript of Digital Native in a New Era: Apartheid or democracy

Tapscott Prensky
TAUGHT DIFFERENTLY The Prevalence The Digital Native/Digital Immigrant divide has fundamental implications for virtually every aspect of our society. Natives will take over executive control and a new type of organization will emerge, with the rules of business rewritten in a digitally native language African media bosses will this year gather for the annual African Media Leadership Conference (AMLC) in Accra, Ghana from 4 – 7 October to examine how they can harness and “monetise” the continent’s growing youthful audiences who are heavily reliant on digital media channels as their sources of news, information and entertainment. IN THE MARKET DEBATE Lack of Rigour http://www.ru.ac.za/modules/blog_include/blog_content.php?blog_id=705 (Dennis Irvine Lecture Series. University of Guyana. 9 April, 2010 ICTs in Higher Education: Who Stands to Gain? Asha Kanwar http://www.col.org/resources/speeches/2010presentation/Pages/2010-04-09.aspx) http://www.ais.up.ac.za/digi/digitalscholarship2010.htm Criticism of the Terms CRITICISMS OF THE CLAIMS Technological Determinism Intense Debate on Web Effects A geographically dispersed group of academics are challenging the validity of the digital native /net generation concept on the basis of lack of evidence– includes South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Netherlands, USA , Canada, Chile….. The Net Generation: A critical and international perspective
Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom – May 2009
Reputable journals are publishing papers critically examining the concept and its (lack of) theoretical basis Networked learning, the Net Generation and Digital Natives
Network Learning 2010, Aarlborg, Denmark – May 2010
IN THE ACADEMY Today’s student is a digital native. It should not be difficult to foresee the emergence of a still newer learner ….. the ‘ultimate learner’ who is groomed right from his/her pre-school days through the school years and the portals of higher education to be a lifelong learner not only equipped to handle all that ICT has to offer, but also bestowed with a mind-set that motivates learning in diverse circumstances and environments. A different kind of student is also emerging (“the iPod generation”) with greater computer literacy and different kinds of expectations from the university experience. …... These transformations oblige us in academia, research and the general information service provision industry to seriously seek and develop strategies and solutions to effectively harness the new opportunities occasioned by these paradigm shifts while mitigating the challenges.( International Conference on Digital Scholarship and Emerging Technologies Pretoria 2010 “native” “immigrant” In South Africa "native" is synonymous with colonialism, apartheid and domination (not superiority and the future). In this situation, it was the natives who were constructed as backward and the “settlers” who brought civilisation This Evolutionary metaphor reinforces connotation of backwardness and progress, natural selection and extinction, and a future for those who have evolved. The positioning of some students as better than other evokes a digital digerati – a cyber elite. “homo sapien
digitalensis” The findings presented in this paper suggest the erroneous identification of a whole generation as digital natives might lead to an overestimation of young people’s skills in dealing with the risks and negative experiences associated with the internet. (Helsper 2009)

“If we over-estimate their skills we underestimate the support they need and misunderstand their practices.” –
Dr. Sonia Livingstone http://www.scribd.com/doc/27906764/Sonia-Livingstone-2010-Digital-Media-and-Learning-Conference-Keynote
“The data shows evidence of a generation of learners without shared traits, with segments of learners presenting practices that do not characterise the entire generation.” A literature search on the thesis that digital natives learn differently reveals no significant empirical evidence to support it.
Does the New Digital Generation of Learners Exist? A Qualitative Study_4Jaime Sánchez, Alvaro Salinas, David Contreras, and Eduardo Meyer British Journal of Educational Technology (2010)doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01069.x Not homogenous Lack of evidence that students today learn differently Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Myth or Reality?
Ravi Rikhye, Sean Cook, Zane L. Berge
International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning February 2009 2 Vol. 6. No. 2. Still need teaching THE PREMISES Young people are surrounded by and comfortable with technology "Young people have a natural affinity for technology that seems uncanny. They instinctively turn first to the Net to communicate, understand, learn find and do many things. "
Young people

understand technology and naturally know what to do with it Young people think differently Young people’s brains work differently Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work. Prensky

We know that generation Y has been exposed to digital media from birth — video games, cell phones, digital cameras, instant messaging and web communities, to name a few. …. a futurist and researcher explains that the 15-20 year olds are wired differently. Their brains naturally process multiple pieces of information simultaneously. So, the communications we present to this group must be more complex, more interactive, and dynamic. (The Digital Native Defined, Author: Catherine Weber ,29 Dec ). H van Rooyen, MM Maneschijn (2009) Mobile learning at the Ekurhuleni Campus of the Vaal University of Technology: a pipe dream or a way forward? http://www.zaw3.co.za/index.php/ZA-WWW/2009/paper/view/104
Young people learn differently "Today’s students ……………………have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age." (Prensky 2001)

“Todays kids are so bathed in bits that they think its all part of the natural landscape”
(Tapscott 1997) Perhaps not since early man first discovered how to use a tool has the human brain been affected so quickly and so dramatically. Findings published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry suggest that Internet use enhances the brain's capacity to be stimulated, and that Internet reading activates more brain regions than printed words. And that these differences are likely to be even more profound across generations, because younger people are exposed to more technology from an earlier age than older people. Small 2008: http://www.drgarysmall.com/newsappears.htm

Today’s “Generation Y” ….have never known a world without computers. Brain scans have shown that their brain circuits differ dramatically from those of “digital immigrants” – people who came to the digital age as adults but whose basic brain wiring was laid down at a time when face-to-face social interaction was the way things were.
Hund 2009: Dispatch online http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=339876
Children raised with the computer think differently from the rest of us. ….. We now have a new generation with a very different blend of cognitive skills than its predecessors—the Digital Natives. (Prensky 2001) Variously known as: The Patois Prevalent discourse about
the changing nature
of young people DISCOURSE Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Special Section: Describing or Debunking? The Net Generation and Digital Natives Computers and Education
Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university?
Are digital natives a world-wide phenomenon? An investigation into South African first year students’ use and experience with technology "The Digital Natives Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence."
Does the New Digital Generation of Learners Exist? A Qualitative Stud
International Journal of Excellence in e-Learning
The net generation in higher education: Rhetoric and reality. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning
Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Myth or Reality? For right or wrong, we could be who we are because of television….If the shadow of TV on our society was long, the digital shadow will be a total eclipse.
“We are in the age of the digital native with technological evolution shaping behaviour to a significant degree. Digital natives are becoming companies’ employees and their customers, making it increasingly important for digital immigrants to adapt,”
Thithi 2008 http://www.ovationsgroup.com/ovations/view/ovations/en/page60?oid=2024&sn=Detail (The rise of the digital native Page 7) http://behavioralhealth.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/unplug.jpg

New forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber … Media critics write as if the brain takes on the qualities of whatever it consumes, the informational equivalent of “you are what you eat.” (Pinker Mind over Mass Media June 2010)

……the language of moral panic and the divides established by commentators serve to close down debate, and in doing so allow unevidenced claims to proliferate.
(Sue Bennett, Karl Maton and Lisa Kervin The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence Page 783 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 39 No 5 2008 775–786)
Does Google make us stupid? Carr versus Shirkey on whether the Internet is making us smarter or dumber. http://apehret.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/google-cartoon-02.gif
OUR WORK The Technology Context World Bank ICT at a Glance 2008 Goldstuck Report 2008 NOTE:

The number of Internet users is higher than the availability of personal computers on-campus, community and work facilities are critical Internet costs are an issue for academics and students alike.

South Africa has the most expensive bandwidth in Africa and one of the most expensive in the world.

Bandwidth limits to what it is possible and easy to do in teaching and learning environment (Unequal access to bandwidth)
OUR STUDY A research project on ICT access and use for teaching and learning of South African university students in South African higher education over past 7 years including:

Two surveys of 10 110 students in total
2004 - 6 universities in Western Cape
2007 - 6 universities in other parts of South Africa
2009 – brief survey of 466 students at 6 diverse universities, followed by 80 phone interviews

… our project mixed-method approach

Drawing on a range of 58 question survey of 466 students at four diverse universities, 140 phone interviews, focus groups at six different universities
THEORY Bourdieu The social world a space with several intersecting dimensions Key concepts: Field

Capitals Habitus
Field seeks to explain and define the structures or systems within which individuals attempt to achieve their outcomes.
Higher education is one of a series of relatively autonomous worlds or fields whose complex interactions constitute society.
Field a site of struggle
The resources individuals possess that grants them power within a field
Economic – cash , assets
Social- networks “who you know”
Symbolic – recognition, value, status,
Cultural capital:
* relates to knowledge
* 3 types, embodied, objectified, institutional
Embodied Capital
Skills, competencies and knowledge, representation of self image
Objectified capital
Physical objects, the props and tools – their meanings, their gatekeeping role
Institutional capital
Institutional capital is the formal recognition of knowledge, qualifications
Is about being in the world, identity
Is about how all the different constructs come together, the dynamic and shifting relationship between particular field and capitals
“the mental structures through which individuals apprehend the social world … the product of the internalization of the social world”
FINDINGS Experience not age Lack of homogeneity level of ICT experience of under 22 year olds range of experience within age groupings Students born into millenial generation cannot all be assumed to have grown up digital, divides continue NEW DIGITAL APARTHEID Our findings showed a worsening divide, increased polarisation, a new digital apartheid.

We found a small group – 11%- of students who fit the criteria of a “digital native”- termed these the “digital elite”

We also found a significant group of student s - 22% - who lack both experience and access
A digital elite not a digital native
Even gender mix
From high to average socio economic groups
Mostly speak English or Afrikaans speaking (74%)

Have excellent off-campus access at home often
multiple forms of off-campus access (including portable)
high practical access

Are confident of their own abilities
81% rate their ICTs skills as good or excellent
Have high social use of ICTs
Are usually doing courses in science, engineering or health sciences
A digital native defined as

Grown up using computers > 10 yrs experience
Learnt to use a computer by teaching themselves or through social networks ie family and friends
Able to solve ICT problems themselves or by drawing on supportive social networks This applies only to a small percentage of our students: 15%

They are not all young. There is a small group of students who exhibit these characteristics and are older. Indeed 4% are older than 25. The case study of a member of the digital elite Nhlanhla 1st digital experience aged seven

Has it all, ipod, walkman, laptop, computer, WAP cellphone

1st experience of internet through a computer

Family taught him to use a computer

Confident with ICTs, but waits until taught to learn new things
lives in residence (close to campus)
uses one of three university laboratories on campus one of which is open 24 hours a day.
has access to “pretty much all the things that any post-teen /young adult has access to… cell phone, the walkman the iPod, laptop, computer and the internet.”
has a smart phone, not even a year old, and has internet access and wifi so if he can find a hotspot he can use his phone for downloads.
would prefer to have internet on his laptop but his “mother complained about the bill so she disconnected it”.
computers dominated his formative ICT experience
acquired his first cell phone when 12 years old.
was motivated to start using technology by interest “since my father was also into it, and we enjoy doing the same things, we both got into it”. As he was growing up he “would read about technology in magazines, etc”.
is extremely confident using technology saying he finds pretty much everything easy because “I’ve grown up with computers so i can do all the basics and quite alot of the advanced stuff”.
In terms of habitus, Nhlanhla finds pretty much everything easy because “I’ve grown up with computers so i can do all the basics and quite a lot of the advanced stuff”. His interest is less self-driven “I do information systems and I’d love to go into the programming section of my work. Right now we’re doing databases and word documentation and we haven’t got to the programming part yet.” The digital stranger At the same time, a significant group of students in our findings (22%) lack both experience and access.

Such polarisation indicates that the “the digital natives and the “digital stranger” are on opposite sides of a worsening digital divide.
The characteristics of the “digital stranger”
More women than men
Largely South African (95%) with 80% speaking an African language as a home language.
90% have no access to ICTs off campus
Those with off-campus access have very low practical access
Low self confidence
Mostly doing business degrees
Very low social use of ICTs
Mostly learn in formal structured ways
http://www.corbisimages.com/images/572/5CC5303E-95F6-4FD2-8FDC-34FB22D89A2A/42-16578745.jpg The case study of a digital stranger sipho Exposed to ICTs for 1st time in final school year

Shared access to computers, has internet cellphone

1st experience of internet through cellphone

Used internet tutorials on a cellphone to teach himself to use a computer

Highly driven to learn new skills
Lives away from campus and has an old desktop computer for university that he describes as “not that good, the thing is old. It has Windows 2000. So it lacks some things, anything that requires javascript it can’t accommodate”.
Uses general university labs which require booking and have a time limit and his department labs which “we have to share them with the first years, second years, all those guys.”
His father and brother do use a computer at work and when he goes back home he takes his computer with him and “we only use it to play music and fun and games, that kind of thing, so nothing serious that we do”
digital experiences developed first through his cell phone which his parents bought him in his final year of school
taught himself how to use the cell phone via the manual and how to use a computer by downloading computer tutorials through the Internet on his cellphone, then working through them on his desktop.
did not take a computer literacy course when he started university because he was confident using ICTs
but he has had training through his degree program as he is studying computer science.
Sipho is very passionate about knowledge saying “ Yes, you must always search so that you remain up to date—so that you avoid being outdated. In other words in order to be up dated you must subscribe to those development sites, so that you often get news letters—so that you know what is happening currently—what is happening just around.” ACKNOWLEDGING DEEPENING DIVIDES Rose tinted spectacles & techno romanticism disadvantage the have-nots

Links between social disadvantage and digital disadvantage

Its about power not simply access or literacy

For learning designers, is this a dilemma of justice
(Broekman, Enslin et al 2002)
Prensky, M. (2001). "Digital natives, digital immigrants." On the Horizon 9(5).
Prensky, M. (2001). "Digital natives, digital immigrants, Part 2: Do they really think differently?" On the Horizon 9(6): 1-9.
Tapscott, D. (1997). Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. Toronto, McGraw-Hill.
Bayne, S. and Ross, J. (2007). The "digital native" and "digital immigrant" debate: a dangerous opposition. Annual Conference of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) from 11-13 December 2007. Prensky, M. (2009). "H. sapien digital: from digital immigrants and digital natives to digital wisdom " Innovate 5(3). Helsper, E. (2008). "Digital natives and ostrich tactics: The possible implications of labelling young people." Beyond Current Horizons. DIGITAL

Let’s look at Sipho again

He also has a WAP-enabled cellphone
His digital experiences developed first through his cell phone which his parents bought him in his final year of school
Highly driven to learn new skills
Used internet tutorials on a cellphone to teach himself to use a computer
Joined the digital world through his cell phone

Ownership is ubiquitous
Ownership is not socially differentiated
Main means of access to Internet off campus for students from low SEGs
The South African Context Higher education

Substantial restructuring of the Higher Education sector since apartheid ended in 1994
full-scale institutional mergers and restructuring has taken place since 2005
student enrolments have increased by 30% since 1994
increased student diversity with 22% more black students entering the sector since 1995
No national educational technology policy
Resource constraints (esp ICTs) and competing demands
46% of South African university students are over 22 years old
Percentage of cell phone time spent for academic purposes A step back to the broader context SOUTH AFRICA:

South Africa has the third largest mobile internet using population in the world

South Africa ranks 6th in the global Top 10 for mobile internet usage

ahead of both the US (7th) and the UK (9th)

Mobile internet in South Africa is among the least expensive in the entire world; traditional desktop access is still among the most expensive
OTHER STUDIES Native implies:
Non-native (stranger)
Better (digital digerati) Access to what?
The divide that matters is near/ not near a cell phone tower RETHINK ACCESS REJECT NATIVE CONCLUSION Digital Natives Generation Y Net Generation Generation c nexters The "native" as the future and in command & the "immigrant" as old, the past and obsolete. Use of such language “inevitably evokes complexities and anxieties around migration, integration, and racial and cultural difference in Western society”. (Bayne and Ross 2007) Marc Prensky's term 'homo sapien digitalensis" - Canadian professor Don Tapscott, author of Grown up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, explains that, from eight to 18, when the brain is still developing, children's brains are being hard-wired to live in a digital culture. In other words, technology is rewiring their brains to adapt to a new multitasking culture. All students live in a digitally mediated world
All students have a digital “identity” and set of practices
All students are digital citizens
Acknowledge the full spectrum of digital capabilities
All have a set of capabilities in varied configurations
Recognise complexity of the new technological habitus RECOGNISE COMPLEXITY OF THE NEW TECHNOLOGICAL HABITUS Digital presently implies:
Have or have-not
On/ off
REFINE DIGITAL http://www.re-so.net/IMG/arton3828.jpg OUR FINDINGS RECONSIDERING THE DIGITAL STRANGER http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/1107/images/f3_illo.gif Tapscott, D. (2008) Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. New York, McGraw-Hill. http://lessonplansfordigitalnatives.pbworks.com/
Apartheid or Democracy? http://www.newyorker.com/humor/issuecartoons/2010/03/15/cartoons_20100308#slide=1
http://francisanderson.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/links-for-2009-09-15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ervins_gallery/4147238714/ http://www.indiareport.com/resources/images/original/Children-Internet.jpg
A study by Africa’s largest distance education provider, UNISA’s, reports that in a study of high school learners 75.4 % of the respondents indicated that they accessed the Internet via their cellphones

“New media usage and behaviour among adolescents in selected schools of Gauteng,” by Prof. DH Tustin, Dr. I van Aardt, & MS GS Shai – Bureau of Market Research UNISA at http://www.unisa.ac.za.
78% of SA students access the internet via their cell phones, according to a study by two youth marketing agencies , (Student Village & Interact RDT) TOWNSHIP YOUTH
Grade 11 (17 year olds) low-income black South Africans youth in poor urban schools (Kreutzer 2009).
93% of the Grade 11 learners reported having used the internet on cell phones (ever), with 68% using their phones for internet access on a typical day, opposed to 39% using computers (Kreutzer 2009). About half of all an individual’s expenses spent on cell phones.

Email: Laura.Czerniewicz@uct.ac.za
Twitter: Czernie
Blog: http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/laura-cet Thanks A/Prof Laura Czerniewicz Grateful thanks to Shihaam Donnelly Our work, Czerniewicz, and Brown, at http://www.cet.uct.ac.za/ResearchOut
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