The Internet as a learning platform for digital natives even on social media.
Born after the 1980s and having access to networked digital technologies, “digital natives” grew up and live much of their lives online. Major aspects of their lives – social interactions and friendships – are mediated and developed through gaming and social media. They’ve never known any other way of life so much so that they do not see the Internet as a platform for academic growth and the everyday use of digital and social media could potentially help on the road to being a designer. Pinterest, for example, could be thought of as more than just mindless repining – but as an indicator of trends, popular colour palettes as well as design inspirations. Online forums, where we post questions about our life choices can be related to crowd wisdom comparable to ‘expert’ wisdom.
“Today, social networks are mostly about sharing moments. In the next decade, they’ll also help you answer questions and solve complex problems.” – Mark Zuckerberg, 2014
Digital natives are relying upon this connected digital space for virtually all of the information they need to live their lives. Research once meant a trip to a library to find a book but now, research simply means a Google Search and for most, a visit to Wikipedia. Living in the time where it is the most rapid period of technological transformation ever – at least when it comes to information – no major aspect of our modern lives are untouched by the way many of us now use the Internet.
We have a fundamental drive to be connected, to be in cooperation and to contribute to a better world but we are often separating the Internet from our ‘formal’ education. If we are interested in living with technology in the best possible way, we must recognise that what matters above all is not the individual devices and social media sites that we use, but rather what we use them for.
Bonus questions: Is the separation of the Internet from education amongst digital natives echoed no matter what culture they’re from? Are American students any different from Singaporean students? And is it symbolic of a larger problem at hand?