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ICT Specialist

A digital native is "a person

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A digital native is "a person who was born during or after the general introduction of digital technologies" according to Wikipedia. I think this is a great description of a digital native. You see this when kids are more familiar with iPads than magazines and expect magazines to act digitally (for example: This is a true digital native.

However, when we assume a digital native "has a greater understanding of its concepts" (according to Wikipedia), we are wrong, these children, teenagers and adults still need explicit instructions on how to utilize technology as a tool for their learning and life. It's important not to get these two things mixed up.

Mary, Thanks for your

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Thanks for your helpful post! Yes, the stereotype of 'digital native' has indeed penetrated language and thought. It's a compelling story and, to put it mildly, "it just makes sense" to frame how young people grow with technological tools.

Building on what you say, however, education and media research shows that young people possess a significantly mixed, varied and variable set of skills. For example, young people rapidly develop a sense of what the internet is - but only up to a certain, non-technical level (see: ).

Research about children's understanding of web search and information literacy and fluency certainly shows the same.

So the story is mixed and, as you say, reframing the story to capture the skills and competences required by a digital citizen is a great & needed step.

Now, on the next logical question - the educator's question - Just what does one need to learn to be a digital citizen?

--Dave / PLML

Fourth grade classroom teacher in Ellington, CT

Many children, at very young

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Many children, at very young ages, are able to use their parents’ iPhones and tablets. They understand how to turn it on, open files, play games and take pictures, but that is as far as their understanding goes. I agree that teachers must show the students appropriate ways to utilize the technology that is at their fingertips. Last year, I had my students create PowerPoint presentations about a chosen state in the northeast. They were completely oblivious to the correct way to research a topic, and they did not know about the PowerPoint software. Many adults would walk by my class in the computer lab and joke that they should be able to do this already. This assumption that the students should be tech savvy is silly. Yes they are more comfortable around technology and yes they catch on faster, but this does not mean that they are masters with it. I enjoy not only using technology in the classroom, but also teaching my students about how they can use it to help their own learning.

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