Oct 19 2011

What about the “non-digital” natives?

I’m concerned for those who were left behind: scholars in their late 60’s and older, leaders in their field with valuable research & materials. Alot of these people avoided the digital revolution, muddling along without it because it was too much of a hassle and happened towards the end their careers anyway.

They’re the digital immigrants who came to the New World too late, even to learn the ‘language’.

But these individuals are a gold mind of information because they are (for want of a better word and with great reverence for native cultures) the digital aboriginals. They represent the last generation who experienced first hand what it was like to learn without digital tools. They offer a wealth of experiential knowledge which will help us technologists, developers, pedagogical experts, and so on, to be better attuned to the historical context of learning & scholarship, and to utilize and value their precious experience as we go forward.

But yet…. all we seem to want to do is bring them over to the Promised Digital Land. Instead, I wish we took the time to ask, “Gee what was it like for you? How is it different now? What is being lost, what is changing? Tell us your stories.”

Can we do this before its too late? They’re starting to die off….

About the author

Molly Ruggles

I work with faculty to bring educational technology initiatives into teaching and learning -- functioning as project manager, faculty advocate, designer, and technologist. For the past two years I've been a member of the Russian RevolutionTimeline Team.

I'm a Senior Educational Technology Consultant on the staff of MIT's Office of Educational Innovation & Technology (oeit.mit.edu).

Possessing tons of relatively useless degrees in music, this June (after 6 years of study) I'll receive my Masters in Library & Information Science. Woo hoo!

Permanent link to this article: http://newengland2011.thatcamp.org/10/19/what-about-the-non-digital-natives/

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