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Whither Digital Natives?
Public Humanist (2008)
  • Joanne M. Riley
Rumor has it that the nature of human thinking is changing. As Nicholas Carr puts it in Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, "Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory." An unsettling idea, and yet, it does make sense. The human brain is fairly plastic, after all, reacting constantly to its environment, creating neural pathways as necessary to process stimuli. The brain has apparently been tweaking itself throughout human history; the hoe, the wheel, the clock, the book, the assembly line, television have all (in conjunction with the physical activity they require and the social adaptations they generate) changed the ways we interact with our environment, probably rewiring our brains in the process. Marc Prensky is convinced that young people are beginning to think differently, and anecdotal evidence suggests that all of us are adjusting in ways large, small, exhilarating and daunting, to changes wrought by the Internet and related tools. The question on my mind is whether young people have any need during this sea change for the guidance of their elders.
  • educational technology,
  • digital natives,
  • digital immigrants
Publication Date
June 25, 2008
Citation Information
Joanne M. Riley. "Whither Digital Natives?" Public Humanist (2008)
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