Let’s Talk about Digital Learners in the Digital Era

Eliana Esther Gallardo-Echenique, Luis Marqués-Molías, Mark Bullen, Jan-Willem Strijbos, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL), Jun 26, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I thought that the title of this paper was an invitation to the reader to engage with the content, but by the end I understand that the title is the recommendation being issued by the authors, specifically, that we should use the term "digital learner" instead of the term "digital native" (or the 47 other generationally-inspired terms used by authors over the years). The reasoning is straightforward: "the key claims of this discourse are not based on empirical research... there are no meaningful differences between net generation and non-net generation students." But there is a subset of students with an affinity for digital technologies. "The focus is on persons, so the first word refers to them. The perspective is anthropological-pedagogical, so the chosen word is 'learning'. (And) not only young people learn through ICTs in the Knowledge Society."

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