Thursday, October 02, 2008

on digital natives

Today at Andy Guess interviews John Palfrey and Urs Gasser about their book, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. They cover issues from encouraging students to develop the skills to assess information, to allowing or banning technology in the classroom, among others.

A short quote, this one from Urs Gasser:
From our interviews, we’ve learned that many digital natives place high trust in the pieces information that they find online. . . . Younger kids in particular are relying on quite surprising clues to make quality assessments online. The color of a Web site, for example, or the amount of text displayed on a Web site are frequently used as indicators of the level of quality of information. It’s rather obvious that these features are not necessarily reliable proxies. However, among the digital natives that spend a lot of time online, we see a different pattern emerge: They tend to be more skeptical when it comes to online information, and they usually visit more than one site to check whether the information found on a given Web site is credible or not. It’s somewhat counterintuitive: The more time kids spend online, the better the skills to make sound quality judgments. But it’s also important to understand that it’s generally challenging for children to assess the quality of information, regardless of whether on- or offline.

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