Are digital natives "unicorns?"

I've heard Marc Prensky, John Seely Brown and many others talk about "digital natives" (tech savvy and saturated millennials) but I'll be darned if I've ever met one.

I work at Columbus State, which has the largest enrollment of distance learners in the state. I do not talk with students of a regular basis but I do with faculty. None of them say that their students are way ahead of them on the technology learning curve. In fact, I hear just the opposite.

So is the death of the text-literate student greatly exaggerated? I have four half-baked theories:
  1. I am at an urban community college that serves a population that does have the wealth that can support the toys of digital consumption;
  2. Playing with digital technology does not mean that one knows how to learn with it;
  3. Digital natives are the educational technologists' unicorn, a mythical entity that supports a vision of tech-enabled learning; or
  4. We only see what our pedagogy allows us to see. We are populated by closet digital natives but we do not engage them in their language.
What is your experience?

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Podcasting from ODCE

Podcasting is - simply - a beautiful way to bring audio (and sometimes video) to the Web for the same easy distribution we have had for text and graphics.

A podcast is an audio file that can be downloaded to a computer - or any number of other devices - and played at the leisure of the listener. Think of a podcast as a radio show. Except it's not "on" at a time scheduled by a network - it's available when you want to listen. Using the tool called RSS - you will always know that a new show, or podcast, is available and ready to download to add to your collection available for listening. I have been producing a podcast for a short while at the Ohio IT Now blog - and it has become a very rewarding project.

ODCE is a terrific opportunity to meet and talk with a variety of talented people who have terrific ideas and share common interests. So we're going to take advantage of the meeting to talk with a few of them and record these conversations - for podcasts to be posted later. We will have a small recording studio set up in the Internet Cafe area - couple of microphones and a laptop - my, my, how the world of radio has changed! - and would welcome your dropping by to say hello (between recording of conversations).

New opportunities in education can be built on the availability of all forms of content via a widely accessible communications medium. We want to take advantage of as many of those communication vehicles as we can, to make the ODCE conference - during and even after the event - as productive and useful as possible!

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