Twitch Speed, part 1

Having ascertained that the Digital Immigrant Remedial Vocabulary list is as likely to confuse todays kids as todays adults (see previous post), I turn to another of Prensky’s papers. Twitch Speed appeared way back in 1998.

By all means have a read, and make your own opinion. My first comment I’ll put below…

I want to start with a bit about the section titled “Fantasty vs. Reality” (page 6). Does this make any sense at all? I could be wrong but weren’t fantasy and science-fiction really big in the 60′s? And all this stuff about the under 30′s being more surrounded by science-fiction and fantasy than older people just doesn’t seem particularly relevant to anything – let alone particularly true.

For a start, at the time Prensky wrote this I was under 30, and so part of the group he is discussing here – and though I was heavily into fantasy and science-fiction during my youth I was very aware that this was not usual or typical. Being into football or Top of the Pops – usual. Tolkein? Dungeons and Dragons? A lot less usual.

So the start point of this section seems false. The explanation – that young people like fantasy and science-fiction because of computers seems even odder. I thought it was mainly due to books and films – Lord of The Rings, Bladerunner, Star Wars, Star Trek, and so on. Extending forward to todays children, they get a lot of fantasy and science-fiction now through Harry Potter, Buffy, Games Workshop, Lord of the Rings… more films, TV, books and table-top gaming.

Then all this is followed by a non sequitur leap into how young companies – or companies with young employees – may feature more informal furniture and settings with play areas. He says that this follows on from the original observation, but I really can’t see the link at all. Sense Make Not Does.

So what we have is a short section of paper in which a dubious assertion is followed by an equally dubious explanation then a disconnected leap to a conclusion that has nothing to do with either.

But this is the fluff part of the paper – and not, I think, very important. Tomorrow – or soon after – I’ll return with part 2, where I’ll try and argue that the paper has more significant problems than this.

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