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Is there such as a thing as a digital native?

We may think that we need to be a digital expert to succeed in education; a Digital Native. This isn't the case. let us hear why.
Look at this! It’s a telephone. That I can keep in my pocket! It isn’t even a particularly pricey, high-end telephone. And yet it’s not just a phone. It’s got the internet on it! And games! And a calculator! We’re living in science fiction, aren’t we! And it’s kind of amazing! If also a little bit frightening. The technology I grew up with has shrunk to fit into the palm of my hand.
Some of it has been superseded by new things: a brave new world of tech, not all of which I understand, and I work in IT!
This technology… it gets everywhere: our homes, our transport, our workplaces, the paperwork we have to fill in… This video you’re watching right now! And Higher Education has not been immune from its spread. Even in these ivory towers, we’ve new toys to play with; new machines we have to conquer and bend to our will. And all of that, let’s be honest, can keep us on our toes a bit – can require some effort. It’s another thing we’ve got to learn. On top of all the books and stuff. But I suppose it always has been. Whatever your age and background, the specific literacies and practices you need at university will have to be learnt.
Even if you’ve been immersed in a culture of digital technology from birth, that tech is still ever-changing, and the ways you use it will vary according to context. You might’ve spent your whole life thumbing text messages to your school-mates, but that doesn’t make you a whizz at spreadsheets or even make you any good at managing your emails. There’s no such thing as a ‘digital native’. We’re all learning this stuff as we go along. So don’t worry… Even if you’ve been living off-grid for the last three decades, untouched by digital developments,
there’s help in place: IT experts like me to give you training and support… covering the full range of the technology you’ll need to use during your studies. We don’t expect you to just pick these things up from nowhere. Education is what Universities are all about after all, and that includes the digital skills you’ll need while you’re
here: skills that may also turn out to be handy in the real world beyond!

Wouldn’t it be a relief if we knew that we weren’t the only one who just ‘gets by’ in the digital world? Wouldn’t it make us feel even better if we knew that not everyone who is on a course is succeeding because of their technology skills or their ability to do all those whizzy things on all of that equipment that can be found in education institutes these days?

Stephanie Jesper, a Teaching and Learning Advisor here at the University of York, offers us an honest and accessible view of how we think we may be way behind others when it comes to the digital world, and how that may not be true, Even if it was, it doesn’t matter, as there is a range of experts and support teams around you to guide you through every step, every assessment, every research project and every digital encounter.

When you have watched the video, do let us know your thoughts on Stephanie’s video.

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