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Digital natives and digital immigrants - July 21st, 2006

Posted by mindblob in Food for thoughts.
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This article from Timesonline is a quite interesting overview on how we can consider the emergence of Digitality in our lives. Writing this makes me a “digital immigrant” according to their definition. I was born before all the digital tools we now have in our everyday lives (mobile phone, computers, internet, MP3 players, media players, etc.) Considering the generation of kids who grew up with immediate access to all of these tools, a brilliant question is developed in this article : is the way we think (links in our brains) going to be influenced by the new communication tools available now?

Well, personally I think we are already thinking differently. Knowing that the web is open to us, that we can communicate, share, discover, find solutions out there, brings a key to our knowledge. Individually as well as in a more global perspective, getting connected opens a new era of brain evolution. For example, accessing relevant information : if I need the definition or spelling of a word… I type it right away in wikipedia or another online dictionary… 10 years ago, I would have needed a dictionary and be lucky the word I’m looking for is not too geeky to be found in my good old 1997 Webster.

Human intelligence is particularly lazy… if there is an easy way to achieve a goal, why should we use a more complicated one? If we know a tool exists, why shouldn’t we use it? Especially if you don’t have reflex blocking you (like “is an online dictionary as relevant as my good old book?”). Maybe this is why kids make links faster than most of the digital immigrants.

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