Forget about “Digital Natives” when it comes to technology. What really counts is whether you are a magician or merely a wizard?
You see, when it comes to tech, being a wizard is not what one might hope.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the term digital native (thanks to Marc Prensky for coming up with it!). It has prompted some great discussion and lots of important research. It’s just that the idea that people born after a certain year have a ‘natural’ competence with technology isn’t quite true. Plus, it misses the point. As technology becomes ubiquitous and we come to rely on it more and more. Being competent in the use of technology is one thing, but understanding it is a different thing entirely.
A long time pet peeve of mine is that many, if not most people in Ed Tech don’t actually know tech. If you’re going to claim to be tech savvy, then you MUST be more than a mere user(*). You must understand something about how that tech works. If you don’t then you are nothing more than a pretender, like the wizard or witch who knows how to do the incantations, but has no clue how they actually work.
A magician, on the other hand, does know how the tricks work. There is no magic, but that in no way diminishes the skill and deep understanding required to do the things they do. Making others believe in magic takes serious expertise.
When it comes to tech, you really want to to be a magician, not a wizard.
There are only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’.