Generations schmenerations

Dan Pontefract has a great come-back to the idea of "digital natives" - particularly that the younger generations are somehow more attuned to being good at technology for collaboration. Introducing the Digital Learning Quadrants | trainingwreck

Let us agree, therefore, that regardless of age or situation, the learning process is one in which any learner can utilize formal, informal and social means to actually learn. It has nothing to do with generational divides.

Digital learning quadrants pontefractThis intro is fairly straightforward: he's calling hogwash. The thing I enjoyed about his article is that he provides a better framework for thinking about being online and collaboration. He pulls a 2x2 matrix (copied here) out pitting interest in participation with online access, providing a different way of thinking about the situation. I suspect it would be different again if you switch out access and went with technology-comfort. This might get you too close to the generational discussion though.

With Pontefract's main argument, there is a deeper sense that the types of situation coupled with their perspective is much more interesting than simply looking at generations. As we all know, there are plenty of "adults" who have been online and tech-savvy for years. (Ahem, my first web pages were in 1995. Hours on the modem in the early 1980's.) And there are plenty of "kids" who don't have access or interest (hard to believe). More importantly, though, to Pontefract's discussion is their interest in collaboration and participation in their environments. Are they people interesting in learning alone; learning with collaborators in the same room; or learning with collaborators strewn across the globe? How much more do I learn and grow by having the opportunity to interact with people everywhere - people who explicitly express interest together.

2 Comment(s)

Interesting post, Jack and thanks for pointing me to Dan's post. But I wonder: is the level of access and participation enough to explain that some don't understand or want to tweet, for instance?

Hi Samuel. This is where I was going with the "technology comfort" comment. And then there are just the large number of people who choose not to participate. Dan calls these Nomads and Lurkers depending on their connectedness.

But there is another angle that you suggest. There are plenty of people who would much rather stick with what they know and not bother exploring those new technologies, for whatever reason: busy, in a groove, not interested, Luddite, etc, etc.

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