ERIC Number: EJ897859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
Debunking the "Digital Native": Beyond Digital Apartheid, towards Digital Democracy
Brown, C.; Czerniewicz, L.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, v26 n5 p357-369 Oct 2010
This paper interrogates the currently pervasive discourse of the "net generation" finding the concept of the "digital native" especially problematic, both empirically and conceptually. We draw on a research project of South African higher education students' access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to show that age is not a determining factor in students' digital lives; rather, their familiarity and experience using ICTs is more relevant. We also demonstrate that the notion of a generation of "digital natives" is inaccurate: those with such attributes are effectively a digital elite. Instead of a new net generation growing up to replace an older analogue generation, there is a deepening digital divide in South Africa characterized not by age but by access and opportunity; indeed, digital apartheid is alive and well. We suggest that the possibility for digital democracy does exist in the form of a mobile society which is not age specific, and which is ubiquitous. Finally, we propose redefining the concepts "digital", "net", "native", and "generation" in favour of reclaiming the term "digitizen".
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, College Students, Age Differences, Access to Computers, Disadvantaged, Racial Segregation, Democracy, Familiarity, Information Technology, Student Characteristics, Computer Literacy, Influence of Technology, Educational Environment, Computer Use, Student Experience
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Equal Access