My mother is tech-savvy. Photograph by Karen Malbon
I remember reading the Prensky (2001) article many years ago and wondering where I fit in. I wasn’t a digital native, born eight years earlier but didn’t feel like a digital immigrant. I am Generation X and part of the MTV generation. I have always immersed myself in technology and am not fearful of it. I have also observed students who were considered digital natives struggle with the use of technology or simply preferred other pursuits. In my opinion, the digital native and digital immigrant terminology is a broad generalisation.
Downes (2012, p. 7) said
When faced with questions, students today find answers within seconds using Google or other search engines. When they want to acquire a new skill, they watch a YouTube video to learn it. When requiring further consultation, they tap into an electronic forum or social network that provides them access to myriad others who share their interests.
My mother is 65 years old, has never worked with computers and she does all the above. Two years ago my mother got an iPad. My sisters and I have helped her along the way and she still refers to us as the “help desk” but now she is a confident user of a variety of apps, Facebook and YouTube. On Facebook she shares photos with her family and friends, swaps knitting and crochet patterns, gives advice and tells stories with caravan and travel groups from all over the world and watches videos on YouTube to learn new craft skills. My mother proudly tells me that she knows more than her friends do about Facebook.
I prefer Stoerger’s (2009) melting pot description than Prensky’s digital native and digital immigrant description.
The melting pot also symbolizes the bridge between the two cultures that the digital native–digital immigrant dichotomy creates. Through assimilation, individuals who lack the skills could be transformed into members of the tech–savvy culture and become incorporated into a
Stoerger’s description takes into account individual differences and the wide range of skills people of all ages possess or are prepared to develop. I plan on using the term tech-savvy from now on to describe my mother.
Everyday when I search Google I see the knowledge graph. I had never considered how it was put together until now. It is a good example of linked data. I can see how data has been drawn from various sources so that relationships an be explores. Being more aware of linked data, I spotted the following reference via an RSS feed. Ending the Invisible Library: linked data . The article discusses Google’s Knowledge Graph in relation to libraries. MARC records cannot be read in the current search engine environment so most library data is not available via search engines. Kevin Ford was the project coordinator in the Network development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress and he said “What we need to do is not just talk amongst ourselves better, but we need to start communicating or formatting our data in such a way that we can be visible and seen by…other large organizations, such as the Facebooks and the Yahoo!s and the Bings and the Googles” of the world. (Enis, 2015) The article argued that libraries should support linked data because it produces better results for users and improves library web visibility. I will be watching with keen interest how libraries and linked data develop.
I am comfortable working and living in a digital world. At home and at work I use a variety of digital tools and cannot imagine being without my computer, iPad, iPhone and digital SLR camera. I addition I have a Smart TV, Apple TV, Tivo, Kindle and a variety of software applications to support my hobbies, work and study. One part of the digital world that has never appealed to me is gaming. I can see the benefits gaming has to education and am open to learning more about it.
Photography is important to me and it is an area very susceptible to the digital dark age I enjoy the process of taking photographs, digitally processing them and digitally sharing them. I am paranoid about losing my digital files and have multiple back ups stored in different locations and still print many of my photographs as small prints or make photo books. I believe it is important to format shift. At the beginning of my career in the early 1990s, I worked as an audio-visual librarian and dealt with different video formats. Our library even had a videodisk collection, a technology that was quickly overtaken by DVDs. Bollacker (2010) did remind me to consider the issue of the loss of software to read files. It would be terrible to have all your files saved but have no means of making them into actual photographs or usable documents.
I tend to agree with Nichole Pinkard who said in the video Rethinking learning: the 21st century learner (MacArthur Foundation, 2010, December 1) “I think kids are born consuming media but I don’t think kids are born producing media”. She believes that children are not born digital natives but are influenced or inspired to produce digital media by a parent, friend or an opportunity presented to them. In my current work situation I think most students would be learning about digital media away from school. Opportunities at school are increasing but have been limited up until recently. I am still coming across teenagers in my library who are not comfortable dealing with technology and ask for guidance to print, photocopy and use software. I think it is naive to assume that all teenagers are experts in today’s digital environment.
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw&feature=youtu.beContext of my learning
I am teacher librarian at the senior campus (VCE – years 11 and 12) of a multi-campus P-12 independent school. Our library staff are spread across campuses so we work independently and as a team. My focus will be on the impact and use of digital and mobile technologies in a secondary school setting. I like experimenting with a variety of tools and working out which are most useful. I enjoy teaching others about technology and willingly share my learning at my workplace and on social media. I have promoted websites such as Europeana, Google Books and Trove to students and staff at my school.
I want my students to be critical and ethical 21st century learners with print and digital resources. I want to help teachers make decisions about tools, resources and strategies to utilise with their classes. My aim is to broaden my knowledge of the theory and examine the practical applications of a digital learning environment so that I can become a digital leader.
There will be challenges. How do I transfer this knowledge to my workplace. How do I encourage time poor teachers to embrace change and in turn get their students to embrace change. How do I influence my school to address the needs of 21st century learners? How can I become an effective leader in digital media and literacy?
References Bollacker, K. D. (2010). Avoiding a digital dark age. American Scientist, 98(3). doi: 10.1511/2010.83.106
MacArthur Foundation [macfound] (2010, December 1). Rethinking learning: the 21st century learner [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0xa98cy-Rw&feature=youtu.be
I graduated with my Bachelor of Education (Secondary) – Library and Information Studies degree in 1993. The world wide web was in its infancy as I embarked on my library career. Most of my early digital learning took place on the job by reading, attending conferences and experimenting with new tools and technologies. It was an exciting time to be involved in education and libraries. As part of my professional learning I did a number of online courses and found that they were suited to my learning style. I caught the travel bug in my twenties and took up photography as a hobby about ten years ago so these pursuits, along with my work have kept me busy and very happy. Last year I felt it was time for a new challenge, the time seemed right to return to study. The general Masters of Education courses offered by other universities didn’t appeal to me greatly, so I was excited when I started investigating the Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). Nervous but extremely excited about getting my Masters started.
Ready to get my feet wet. Photograph by Karen Malbon