I’m at Computers in Libraries this week, and this morning I attended Helene Blowers‘s talk on digital natives. It was awesome. Helene is a great advocate for children and teens using technology. Here are some selected notes from her talk:

Identity—For teens, their online identity is the same as their in-person identity; they explore to see if a space is safe; their social identity is very important to them

Safety—Digital natives have grown up in a world that they perceive as very safe; adults are paranoid that there’s a lot we need to protect them from; teens are great at making good decisions about their online safety. Only 0.8% of teens report meeting someone in person who they met online without asking their parents’ permission.

Information Quality—We’re seeing a shift from authoritative to collaborative control; social responsibility is heightened; we can influence people by sharing information; Britannica now has Wiki element—there are advantages to getting and sharing information in this way; people trust user-generated content the most to help them make decisions about purchases

Creativity—Teens have the ability to express themselves and create content; cultural consumers are digital natives; thrive on information and ideas to fuel their own self-expression; 2/3 of teens are content creators

Opportunity—Teens have high accessibility to information and technology; there’s no barriers; the playing field is leveled; access is universal; connection is ubiquitous; teens have access to a huge sandbox to assert their identity

Sharing—Teens don’t see this as piracy; it’s copying, remixing, creating mashups

Check out Helene’s slides here; there’s lots of rich, useful information in there.

About Sarah Ludwig

I am the Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, CT. Prior to that, I was the head of teen, technology, and reference services at the Darien Library in Darien, CT. I started my library career as a school librarian at a small boarding school in Western Massachusetts.

3 Thoughts on “Strategies for Digital Natives

  1. I think the “sharing” piece is really key for librarians, and misunderstood by a lot of adults in all fields. I was at a conference session this weekend where one panelist went over copyright law for writers in huge detail without once mentioning Creative Commons. Then again, several writers in the room had horror stories of their work being misrepresented and stolen online.

    I’d also be curious about that “access is universal” bit, because I think we’ve been finding out more and more that it isn’t the case (say, in Linda’s recent post on the other digital divide).

  2. I was interested in the statement about universal access, too–I think her point was that libraries can provide computers to teens who don’t have access to them elsewhere, and that more than ever, access to computers allows for a more level playing field. It’s certainly a debatable point.

  3. Interesting. I’d agree with the first, and not necessarily to the second. Speaking totally from anecdata, I’m starting to think that our increasing reliance on computers and online tools actually… what’s the opposite of “levels”? …makes the playing field way less level.

    English skillz, I haz them today.

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