Much of our videos and readings this week focused around the central theme of “do younger people have an innate ability to understand technology better than the older generation”? I would would argue no. The idea of a digital native or a digital immigrant being something static that is only affected by the year someone was born is too arbitrary. First, it privileges the idea that all children have equal access to technology, a fact that us as teachers know to be inherently untrue. Second, it is a huge insult to some of the fantastic minds who may have been born before 1980 but have developed and understand the ins and outs of technology far better than I ever will. Third, I believe that the amount of time we spend interacting with a certain app or technology is a far greater predictor of our digital prowess than simply our age.
The first idea I want to talk about is the access to technology debate. Besides economic privilege which is a separate conversation in and of itself, many other factors influence how much exposure to technology young children have. One of the largest factors is choices made by their parents. Will a child with no iPad exposure before kindergarten be just as good at working an iPad as a child who has always used an iPad? No. But they can learn, the same and adults can learn.
Some of the most technologically savvy people I know are a generation older than me. They are on twitter, they have blogs, etc. Some of the generation older than me don’t understand the workings of Facebook. Therefore I struggle to see how it is about age more than exposure. I have a very small understanding of the inner workings of a car. However if I were to spend the time, I’m sure I could learn. There would be things I caught onto quickly and things that took me longer to understand but I would learn. This is the same with anyone in their pursuit of technological knowledge.
This class is attempting, I believe, to increase our comfort level with becoming digitally immersed. It does not imply that we are digital natives already as many of us are uncertain. In attempting our final projects and jumping into using unfamiliar apps, we are starting our understandings from the perspectives of immigrants but I feel that continued usage could easy brings us to the level of the younger generation. I am growing more excited now than ever to see where this path leads us.