I’ve never liked the whole “digital native/digital immigrant” meme, and an administrator at the University of Kansas seems to agree we need to look at how people understand “technology” in new ways.
She says that many of those digital natives we call students, in both K12 schools and colleges, are actually technologically illiterate, at least under what she says should be an updated definition of “tech literacy”.
The assumption that today’s student are computer-literate because they are “digital natives” is a pernicious one, Zvacek said. “Our students are task-specific tech savvy: they know how to do many things,” she said. “What we need is for them to be tech-skeptical.”
Zvacek was careful to make clear that by tech-skeptical, she did not mean tech-negative. The skepticism she advocates is not a knee-jerk aversion to new technology tools, but rather the critical capacity to glean the implications, and limitations, of technologies as they emerge and become woven into the students’ lives. In a campus environment, that means knowing why not to trust Google to turn up the best sources for a research paper in its top returns, or appreciating the implications of surrendering personal data — including the propensities of one’s bladder — to third parties on the Web.
I think I like the idea of teaching tech “skepticism” instead of “literacy”, for adults as well as kids.
Thanks to Shaun Johnson for the link.