Digital orphans

Most people think, with the circulation of terms such as Digital Natives and Millenials that kids need no training in use of IT. This is false. It is true that kids have in the most part crossed the digital divide and do not differentiate between physical and virtual reality. But they have crossed this Rubicon, in fact were born on the other side of it, alone. As Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Microsoft Education put it recently ‘our children are learning without us‘. He went on to say that we can substitute this with any verb, thus: ‘children are learning/collaborating/speaking/investigating/experimenting without us‘, all true. More worrying is the fact that we can remove the verb altogether leaving us with ‘ children are without us‘. They are on the other side of the digital divide with no guidance from teachers or parents. Far from being ‘digital natives’ they are more properly ‘digital orphans‘ insofar as they are unable to evaluate or self-curate material they discover online.

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