Just finished our latest Jisc Evolve / Educamp online seminar. This one was on the topic of Enterprise 2.0 and featured presentations by Pat Parslow and Willms Buhse. I thoroughly enjoyed Pat’s presentation which should be online tomorrow.
But Willms’ presentation and the subsequent discussion became bogged down over the issue of digital natives (which he defined as anyone born after 1980) although he later agreed that the term was possibly not too useful.
I would go further than that. The term was dreamed up with no research to support it but became popular in the media. OK – these things happen. But it is totally useless for trying to discuss any real development and use of new technologies.
Repeated research has shown that age is not the only or even the main determinate in patterns of uptake and use of technologies for learning and exchange of knowledge. My own modest research into the use of ICT for learning based on case studies in 106 enterprises in Europe suggested that older workers were more likely to use social software for developing and exchanging learning and knowledge. This, we hypothesised, was because they often had more autonomy in undertaking their work and in using learning in the workplace. If that is true, then work organisation would seem to be the most important factor in introducing social software in enterprises. Amd that has nothing to do with digital natives!