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The Myths Of The Digital Native And The Multitasker - Education - Nairaland

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The Myths Of The Digital Native And The Multitasker by Victorebuka2714: 6:50am On Apr 21, 2020
Current discussions about educational policy and practice are often embedded in a mind-set that considers students who were born in an age of omnipresent digital media to be fundamentally different from previous generations of students. These students have been labelled digital natives and have been ascribed the ability to cognitively process multiple sources of information simultaneously (i.e., they can multitask). As a result of this thinking, they are seen by teachers, educational administrators, politicians/policy makers, and the media to require an educational approach radically different from that of previous generations. This article presents scientific evidence showing that there is no such thing as a digital native who is information-skilled simply because (s)he has never known a world that was not digital. It then proceeds to present evidence that one of the alleged abilities of students in this generation, the ability to multitask, does not exist and that designing education that assumes the presence of this ability hinders rather than helps learning. The article concludes by elaborating on possible implications of this for education/educational policy.

Digital nativeMultitaskingHomo zappiënsEducational reform
Many teachers, educational administrators, and politicians/policy makers believe in the existence of yeti-like creatures populating present day schools namely digital natives and human multitaskers. As in the case of many fictional creatures, though there is no credible evidence supporting their existence, the myth of the digital native (also called homo zappiëns) and the myth of the multitasker are accepted and propagated by educational gurus, closely followed and reported on by the media (both traditional mass-media, Internet sites, and social media) and dutifully parroted by educational policy makers at all levels. But while the myth of the existence of a yeti or other creature is fairly innocuous, the myth of their digital variants is extremely deleterious to our educational system, our children, and teaching/learning in general.

In what follows this article aims – in the context of teaching, learning, and teacher training - to describe and discuss the state of research about the problems related to accepting the widely held premises of the existence of the digital native and of our ability to multitask. This article hopes to play an important role in teaching and teacher education by providing the reader with up-to-date knowledge about these two topics and ultimately eradicating these two very pervasive myths.

1. Digital natives
In discussions of educational innovation, especially those discussions relating to either implementing specific information and communication technologies, the need for more effective pedagogies, or experienced problems with
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