Saturday, July 12, 2008
I've been reading a lot of feeds of late that speculate on ways to teach, work with, "reach", etc. digital natives. This of course begs conjecture on what a digital native is and who might qualify for such status. Such deliberations seem fair enough, though they are familiar protocol for those aiming to educate in "new times" (see the cult stud work of Stuart Hall as well as the ed work of Robert Helfenbein). Anyway, my first reaction is to suggest that any attempt is always already reactionary. Digital natives, like most who drive new paradigms, author their own space and regardless of how curriculum designers feel about the merits of such "new" practices and their attendant spaces such authoring is hegemonic in its own right. Once the digital natives are inserted upon the load road to hegemony they are (at least in the near term) positioned against those who aspire to "educate", "observe", or "characterize" who and what they are as subject/digital natives. So, in this abbreviated post, I'd challenge researchers and curriculum designers to understand the colonial predisposition of "studying" digital natives. In lieu of such study, I'd advocate participation, celebration, or even resistance...remarks on those types of engagements will offer better insights into our new and emerging ways of being.