As a socio-economist focused on studying the changes brought by new media to our social lives, I understood networks as a space of knowledge production that could give me and my children access to informal communities of interest and practices focused on similar issues. In my mind, the internet has a become a sort of “Living library” where peers share their lived experiences and knowledge, potentially giving each other new perspective and ideas to apply to their own context. I knew that the emerging digital learners are going to have drastically different learning needs than analog children.
For one, they have or are learning to find what they want in terms of information and content, when they need it. Their learning is out of the classroom for many things such as dancing, media making, etc.
Secondly, their social world is rapidly becoming embedded in mobile technologies. They exist in hybrid spaces where the distinction between space social/ institutional /personal boundaries are being eroded. They learn and live in real time. Their notion of is going to be radically different and a lot more based on a hybrid between virtual and physical space and time continuum.
Thirdly, their future success will be defined less in terms of a competitive edge and educational degrees but much more in terms of diy survival abilities defined by varying sustainable, local, cultural needs as well as appropriate solutions to problems, that we as adults can barely imagine, let alone prepare them for, if our teaching methods and our approaches to what learning is don’t change.
We can use digital media to learn how to redefine our approaches to the world from a deeply sensitive lens, and part of this project is to understand how.