Category Archives: Twitch Speed

The myth of the digital native

Just came across this…

From 2004. Martin Owen, the director of the UK’s FutureLab has a short piece on the myth of the digital native. It’s something I’m going to write more about later, so I’m glad that someone agrees with me – and even more glad that he hasn’t used up all my arguments yet!

He does however make one point that my wife also picked up on: If people assume that what Prensky states about digital natives to be true – and it turns out to be false – then they might end up delivering teaching that is less well suited to their students than they believe to be the case.

And for anyone wondering why my wife might be so interested in this topic… she’s an award winning web producer for BBC Scotland, working on schools and education projects. It’s her job too.

Pay attention now!

A nice little summary of some of Prensky’s writing is to be found on the online Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. It includes the joke that Prensky makes about ADD. This is part of the ‘Engage me or Enrage me’ theme he presents. Basically, he claims, the problem is not that ‘kids’ have problems with attention, its just that they don’t want to – or that this is only a problem for the old-fashioned methods of teaching. Kids are so used to operating at ‘Twitch Speed’ that anything less just doesn’t cut it.

Well what if it turned out there were ways of improving childrens attention at school without any need to convert the curriculum into a series of digital games? If instead of pandering to the need for constant visual stimulation, it were possible to help children learn the discipline required for concentrating, listening and thinking without flashy graphics? It appears that there may be one fairly simple solution that can lead to dramatic improvements: it’s called food.

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