The New Media Consortium, in its 2011 Horizon Report, argues that digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every profession, but that the skills aren’t yet well defined or well taught. That claim is certainly supported by my experience as both a digital humanities professor and new media consultant. In this article, I’ll discuss briefly why a multimedia lab can help address the issue, then point out a few of the policies we’ve used and grants we’ve found to support our lab, the Iowa State University Studio for New Media. One challenge of teaching new media is a widespread, pervasive belief in the myth of “digital natives” vs. “digital immigrants.” This stereotype, articulated
by writers such as Marc Prensky in 2002, argues that young people who have been raised immersed in digital media (“natives”) are naturally more comfortable and more capable with new media technologies than older users (“immigrants”) to the digital terrain. In my experience, this myth hampers both teaching and learning. Students use it to enable mediocre work— students often have a haphazard understanding of new media and sometimes assume their work is good before it is. Faculty and senior colleagues, on the other hand, often use the myth to justify their own limited digital skills and to justify not teaching digital technologies to students (who presumably already know them).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/geoffrey_sauer/1/