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Students Gathered with Devices

What Do Digital Natives Know?

by Mary Cleary

Irish Times

Article excerpt

A love of Snapchat and Twitter does not make children digital natives

Today’s youth are often hailed as “digital natives”, suggesting that they can instinctively master all digital technologies and devices. And, yes, using Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and gaming, and voraciously consuming online content, are digital lifestyle skills that seem to come easier to young people.

Our take

Use vs. Understanding: A Critical Chasm

While so-called digital natives are adept are using tools like Snapchat and Instagram, does that mean that they’re really adept with, and fully understand, the technology they interact with every day? No, according to this author who exhorts educators to look beyond using technology to helping students understand what makes the technology work. What opportunities do you have to further true tech learning in your school system?

Around the globe, demand for computing professionals is on the rise. Ireland, for instance, is estimated to need about 45,000 more computing professionals over the next three years, according to this article. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Governments, school systems and educators are well aware of these demands and working to incorporate STEM-related instruction into their curricula. In doing so, though, it’s important to avoid making assumptions about student knowledge. Using a smartphone, and understanding how the smartphone works, are two very different things.