Archive for ‘Digital’

Deconstructing the Digital Native/Immigrant Myth

By js, 13 February, 2011, 2 Comments

The blog post The Myth of the Digital Native argues that the terms digital native and digital immigrant create false dichotomies.

We hear a lot about the notion of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, a concept originally suggested by Marc Prensky in a paper by the same name (PDF).  It makes an presumption that those born after the widespread introduction of digital technologies are somehow out of step with the world of technology, while those who were born and raised in the digital age are naturally able to function within it.

Betcher provides several examples when the terms, with their neat definitions, do not apply. Seniors who know how to do limited things with technology but are not aware of the many possibilities and tools they can use. Teenagers who have the technology at home, but never figure out how to set it up. His own kids who are adept with certain technologies but get stumped when new ones, which don’t follow the patterns of use they are used to, are introduced.

He says

I think we make a huge error of judgment if we assume that just because a 14 year old takes a lot of photos with their phone and sends 300+ texts a month that they have some sort of innate “native” status. We seem to assume that because they use tools like Google to find information, that they understand how to do it well.   And we assume that because they might have 200 friends on Facebook that they understand what it means to live in a digital world.

He also points out that there are many adults who don’t fit within the age range for digital native but who are very adept at using all types of technologies. If one only looked at their skills then they could be considered digital natives.

He also argues that not only is the myth based on simple dichotomies, but the danger comes when we take these dichotomies as truths and then act accordingly, especially in our schools.

It’s a dangerous myth because it has some real implications for how we approach technology in schools.  If we believe that “all kids are good with technology and all adults aren’t”, which, in its most basic terms, is the kind of polarised thinking that the native/immigrant myth perpetuates, it can play out in schools with all sorts of bizarre unstated beliefs…

He argues that there are some kids who are just good at technology like there are kids who are good swimmers. I think the key is that those who are good with technology, both young and old, are eager learners, ready to experiment, and good at seeing, using, and looking for patterns.

So instead of saying Digital Native we should use Digital Generation when we want to refer to those who were born into the internet age.

But the recipe for a Digital Native:

1. life long learning skills

2. comfortable with experimentation

3. excellent at discerning and applying patterns.


By js, 30 July, 2010, No Comment


Evgeny Morozov on Slacktivism

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Evgeny Morozov studies online activism and its effect.

These notes are taken from his TED talk which I found at

He cites a study which showed that people join facebook groups without verifying information and usually do so as a way to define their own identity.

Blending of narcissism and activism= slactivism, blending of feel good activities which make us feel important  but have little practical impact and social significance

This may keep us from participating in more effective ways.

Critique of Lanier

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Michael Agger writes a critique of Lanier.

His argues that though Lanier remains cautious, this caution is a result of “snobbery” and a romantic memory of when an elite controlled the web.

See full critique

The Geek Freaks: Why Jaron Lanier rants against what the Web has become.

Critiquing the critique of the web

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Can real time web bring real world change?

In this post, Saxberg analyzes social media as a way to provide a benefit to the individual who in turn helps to improve the collective (back to Lanier).

She mentions the needs which individuals have and how those are supported by social media.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can also reflect the evolvement of the Internet, from focus on basic infrastructure and security to the services we use today that support our need for social belonging and esteem. This thesis indicates, that the future of web will move towards supporting our need for self-actualization.

Collectivism vs. Individualism Online

By js, 16 January, 2010, No Comment

Response to:

DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism [5.30.06]
By Jaron Lanier

I have been struggling with the benefits and the dangers/constraints of the internet.

I know several people whom I respect immensely who are very weary of the internet. They put forth the same arguments which I have heard before regarding safety, worth and authenticity of ideas, and surveillance. These concerns are legitimate and many scholars are debating these issues.

What concerns me is that we may not be taking advantage of its strengths because we are so guarded by its dangers. There has to be balance between the two. Lanier takes up the discussion of this balance between the power and danger of the collective and the individual. He argues for both collectivism and individualism.

Lanier argues that the strength of the internet is the people behind it. The danger, he argues, comes in elevating the technology above the human, that is, elevating the internet and giving it power which it ultimately does not have and behind which individuals (especially those doing despicable things) can hide.

Racism in Virtual Worlds

By js, 13 January, 2010, No Comment

Racism in Virtual Worlds via Quirkly Black Girls

Two social psychologists from Northwestern University conducted one of the first experimental field studies in a virtual, online world and found racial biases operate in much the same ways that they do in the material, offline world.   The study’s co-investigators are Northwestern’s Paul W. Eastwick, a doctoral student in psychology, and Wendi L. Gardner, associate professor of psychology and member of Northwestern’s Center for Technology and Social Behavior.  The study was conducted in, which is similar to Second Life, and offers users a relatively unstructured online virtual world where people choose avatars – or human-looking graphics – to navigate and interact.


Real-world Behavior And Bia..pdf

Real-World Behavior And Biases Show Up In Virtual World

ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2008) — Americans are spending increasing amounts of time hanging around virtual worlds in the forms of cartoon-like avatars that change appearances according to users’ wills, fly through floating cities in the clouds and teleport instantly to glowing crystal canyons and starlit desert landscapes.

Why “Chicana” Bloggers?

By js, 23 October, 2008, 5 Comments

Like with any research project, I had a personal interest in finding these bloggers.

When I first started searching, I used the term Chicana or Chicano. This of course led me to many different places or to sites which were dead as I mentioned in a previous post. It also led me to commercial sites.

My interest in answering:

Where are the Chicanas in cyberspace? What are they doing?

was to find others like me. I am a Chicana in cyberspace  and I didn’t know anyone who could provide a connection to others like me.

Now, you may ask, why is that important? what does that have to do with Technical Communication?

As I finished by course work in the Spring and as I decided that I wanted to focus on issues dealing with people of color and cyberspace, I knew that I needed to find a community in and with which to work. I needed to find others who had similar interests and preoccupations. Everyone at Tech has been very supportive, but no one with whom I have been working has been specifically involved with this community. I knew that it fell on my shoulders to look for that community. I knew the community was not in Lubbock (at least not one that I had access to) and it is not in South Texas (not one with the same preoccupations and to which I had access). So I turned to cyberspace to find it. I knew that someone was other there. I just had to figure out a way to find them.

I knew I wanted to use the term “Chicana” because of what that term implies about self-definition and political awareness. I know that there is not guarantee that someone using it will be conscious of what the term implies if considered historically but I knew that there were more chances of finding someone who was conscious of its meaning more so than searching for Hispanic or even Latina. These are terms which are problematic because they do not come from within the community but are labels which come from the outside. Furthermore, they are labels which place everyone with a Spanish-speaking heritage under one category without making distinction for the many cultural and linguistic differences.

I became committed to using the term early on in my research. The idea of self-definition and individual agency was something that I was more interested in exploring.

Using the term “chicana” or “latina” on its own became very problematic. There was too much information, and not anything which seemed promising. Some used the term as a marketing tool to attract consumers. Commercial sites seemed to be taking these terms and exploiting their potential to attract an audience. The sites that I did find that were relevant were all “dead” sites which had not been updated in years.

I used the term “race” which was even more problematic since Google cannot distinguish what definition of race you want to use. I soon realized that it would be difficult to find what I was looking for by using only one word.

Using Becky Rickly’s suggestion I turned to blogs. I searched for “chicana blog” and focused on links which took me into the Chicana Blogosphere.

Black American and the Digital Divide

By js, 8 September, 2008, No Comment

Digital Divide Narrows: Two-Thirds of African Americans Online

July 10, 2008

The digital divide between Black Americans and other groups in America has narrowed, with 68% of African Americans reporting they are online (compared with 71% of all Americans), according to a survey by Yankelovich that was sponsored by Radio One Inc.

Among Black teens, the number of digitally connected is even higher, with 90% reporting they are online. Of all Black Americans, two-thirds say they shop online. Blacks who live in the south are least likely to be online (63%).

These findings are part of the “Black America Survey” of 3,400 African Americans age 13 to 74.

The large-scale study finds strong group identity among Blacks across age and income brackets but also reveals differences in segments among Blacks that should preclude marketers from approaching Black America as a monolithic group.

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

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