Learning Futures Symposium. Australian National University Canberra September 10 - 11, 2007
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program // showcases

Mythbusting Digital Natives: What's really happening, and what does it really mean for education?

Karl Maton, University of Sydney

Sue Bennett, University of Wollongong


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'Digital natives', the 'net generation' or 'millenials' are exciting considerable attention among commentators and educators. Young people are said to be immersed in digital technology in their everyday lives such that their ways of thinking and being are different to previous generations of students and to their teachers. The proclaimed technological talent of these 'digital natives' are said to have profound implications for education. Commentators claim educational practices must be fundamentally changed to suit their preferred learning styles, needs and interests. In this showcase we separate the myths from the realities concerning digital natives. We critically review the evidence underlying claims made by commentators, outline contemporary social scientific research into 'digital natives', and summarise the emerging findings. Participants in the showcase may find that not everything is as it seems.