Saturday, December 02, 2006

Digital Native

As I'm sitting here this morning writing this entry, my 6 year old son, Brennan, is at my side. He's kicking the bejezus out of some Nick Jr. character called "Wubbzy" on an old laptop.

His personal best score is 1153. Not too bad considering my best score is 659 - and also considering that the only "controls" on this game are the right and left arrow keys and the space key.

That brings me to my point - he is so comfortable with technology (he can launch the browser and type in the URL himself) that I wonder how his life will be different from mine - in terms of education.

I'm 42 - so when I was a kid we had to learn how to deal with the card catalog and something called the "Dewy Decimal System." Now they can just search for books on a terminal. They still have to physically FIND the book but the days of kids (like me) randomly re-arranging the little cards are over.

I was luckier than most kids - my parents bought the latest "Encyclopedia Britannica" to further our education at home rather than having to go to the public library. The 26 volume tome was (and is) an analog version of basic life. Whenever I had to do a report or find out how something worked - I would hit the encyclopedia and find out.

Now kids hit Google.

The difference is - the encyclopedia is compiled by dedicated professionals and fact-checks. Like a dictionary. Very unlike Wikipedia where people can just make stuff up and people take it at face value.

I also had to create great lists of books and periodicals that contained some mention of my research subject, only to find the library didn't have that issue, or someone had it somewhere in the library, or it was in the pile to be re-shelved. I became and expert at microfiche and was forced to use critical reasoning to pull together and synthesize my thoughts into a coherent central paper.

Will my kids just copy/paste the top 3 links in the search results?

Thought for today: My school presentation certainly never contained 3-D images, multimedia and a link to my MySpace page!

No comments:

Web Analytics