Tech-dependence is not tech-savviness
Posted April 4, 2016on:
You might think that the use of “digital native” would have lost flavour by now. It has been chewed on, roundly critiqued, and spat out by thought leaders in education [sample].
While most use logic and colour to sway audiences, others use data.
I recently uncovered a 2012 study* of 2000 first-year undergraduates. This was the principal investigator’s main remark:
Our research shows that the argument that there is a generational break between today’s generation of young people who are immersed in new technologies and older generations who are less familiar with technology is flawed,” says Dr Jones. “The diverse ways that young people use technology today shows the argument is too simplistic and that a new single generation, often called the ‘net generation’, with high skill levels in technology does not exist.
I read the rest of the summary report* and condensed it into this pithy phrase: Being tech-dependent does not mean being tech-savvy.
A reliance on technology does not make a student smart in its use. You can drive a car, but that does not mean you are a good driver, a responsible road user, or able to maintain your vehicle.
Phone-dependent students might not know when to put it down, whether a Google return is worthwhile, or how to attribute resources. They learn these values and skills when adults and educators model and teach them how.
This is every parent’s responsibility. This is every teacher’s responsibility. Both will only realise this if they first recognise that kids being tech-dependent does not mean that they are tech-savvy.
*Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2012, April 22). Not all today’s students are ‘tech-savvy’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 2, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120422231828.htm