Thursday, February 16, 2006

E-learning and connectivity

Ongoing reflection makes me increasingly certain that it is the development of 'soft' skills that will enable both effective working and beneficial engagement with the connected economy.

Discussion around the phrases 'digital natives' and 'digital immigrants' often leads to the conclusion that the generations growing up with connective technologies will have inherent ability when interacting with those technologies. I would propose that, in fact, whilst the digital native may be better equipped to navigate the connected resource, it is possible that the digital immigrant will have the advantage of accumulated life skills and academic maturity, thus being better able to deal with the potential knowledge base.

Of course, Dilemma Theory would propose that we look for the best of both worlds and thus as the age of the mature digital native approaches the arguement will cease to be of significant relevance - or will it?


At 9:43 pm, Blogger Sarah said...

I love the idea of digital immigrants and natives, but I feel that the classification is rather simplistic. I've recently met someone close to retirement who was getting his 16 year old students to take digital pictures with their mobile phones and then integrating these into their learning. But then there are also much younger people who seem to put up endless barriers between themselves and technology. So I wonder if it is more of an attitude thing than an age/experience thing. I really like your application of dilemma theory to this though I wonder how our children will cope with the technologies that are around for their children!

At 3:49 pm, Blogger For a Bigger World said...

Looking at my students and an IT class studying towards 'A' level, they tend to use technology in favour of reducing the learning load. A mind map on the board created through collaborative activities of the whole class is not copied in by pen and paper. They use the digital camera, take a picture to add that to their English file in order to create a characterisation and an analysis.
I also observed that the learning process to incorporate technology into learning is heavily slowed down depending of the attitude towards innovations in learning.
As Sarah said, attitude seems to be a powerful aspect.
Sarah's question how our children will cope with all the technology around them is one of my concerns aswell. Firstly, they seem to be fascinated but the flood of information required to apply technology successfully creates some emotional stress and frustrations for them. The tendency to achieve their goal fast sometimes leads to an overload and the ability to concentrate and spend attention to detail diminishes. This is quite often reflected in their speed of speech which I feel is increasing with German and as well English speaking children. Words are swallowed. Sentences and utterances tend to be fragmental with consequences on their written performances. It looks like that life could become more hectical for our children as they try to accomplish things fast with the aid of technology.
Secondly, friends are not visiting on daily basis anymore because they use ICQ to have a chat and communicate.
These are observations I made in British and asw well in German educational settings. lets wait and see how our children will find a balance in using technologies for certain purposes.

At 4:47 pm, Blogger Ian said...

This is a serious comment

At 10:29 pm, Blogger Jane said...

This is quite an interesting link:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

At 10:31 pm, Blogger Jane said...

And this link then challenges it!

At 1:18 pm, Blogger Harold Jarche said...

Personally, I see the digital divide, or digital immigrants vs digital natives, as not a generational issue, but an attitudinal one. This may be more in line with Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind thesis, that design, synthesis & empathy are the required skills in a connected world.

At 4:42 pm, Blogger Jane said...

I see what you mean Harold - - at least as much as is possible by reading an excerpt!

At 7:10 pm, Blogger Harold Jarche said...

Jane - I can send you an executive summary (4 pages) of Pink's book if you like. Just pop me an e-mail.


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