My students are not digital natives. There I said it. They are digital consumers, much like the rest of us, but natives, not so much. I used to believe in the whole digital native myth and that if I just gave them a device they would be able to make it work and adapt it to their needs. Make it work; sure, adapt it; not really. Push themselves beyond their comfort level; very rarely unless they have an interest in all things technology. Yes, most of them are afraid of technology just like many adults. Most of them don’t want to just figure things out even when I encourage them to, they would rather just be told how to use it and then use it for that specific purpose only. So even though I tell them to just figure it out, my 5th graders would laugh if anyone called them digital natives, and then they would ask what that term even meant. So why do we persist with the pushing of the digital native persona?
Tonight I asked that question on Twitter, or rather I made a statement:
As always Twitter did not disappoint…
So what are our students? Do we really need to label them? I like to think of my students as kids who like technology a lot, but I have never called them that. Should I? Should anyone?