Digital Future – more thoughts

Following my last post, I’ve had a few chats with friends about future trends and where the digital world might be headed. A couple of relevant articles I came across today are worth adding to the discussion.

The first I read on Stephen Downes list and quotes a study claiming that adults are better web surfers than teens. The report is of a study by Nielsen Norman in Fremont, a firm known for studying how consumers use technology. They found that teens were hampered by poor reading and research skills and were more prone to leave a site after encountering difficulties. They also prefer sites with images – not glitzy images, but ‘cool’ design, such as at Apple. And labeling a site for ‘kids’ drives them away in droves!

The second came from a friend who is in the research division at the Ministry of Education. We’ve had long chats about the way in which kids are being ‘shaped’ by technology, and discussed at length the work of Prensky (Digital natives) and Tapscott (Growing up Digital) et. al.

Informal Learning for Children is an interview with HGSE Lecturer Joe Blatt. Blatt runs a popular course at Harvard University called “Growing up in a media world”, based on the fact that most children spend more than 40 hours every week in front of ??screens.”

Blatt believes we will see at least three really significant shifts in children??s learning sparked by the growth of information technologies.

  1. there will be increasing emphasis on visual and sound communication, on imagery and demonstration replacing description.
  2. the differences between content for adults and content for children will diminish.
  3. children will learn more on their own than ever before, encountering unfiltered information and constructing from it their own meanings and understandings.

Worth a read to find what Blatt claims are the implications for teachers if these three changes are accepted.

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