Almost 25 years later, I am now experiencing this from the other side of the fence. My 2-year-old daughter Sophie smuggled my new iPod Touch from the counter last night. Curious to what she would do, I opened up Doodle Buddy, a free drawing app I had downloaded earlier in the evening. It's simple to use – draw with your fingers and shake to clear the screen. Within minutes, Sophie had is all figured out. I didn't really have to teach her – she just knew.
Although Marc Prensky first coined the term digital native in 2001, I associate it with the work (and recent webinar I attended) of author Don Tapscott. The term is used to broadly define the current youth generation:
A digital native is a person for whom digital technologies already existed when they were born, and hence has grown up with digital technology such as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3s.
Sophie certainly fits the definition of a digital native, but I think it's fair to say she doesn't belong to the same population that Tapscott and Prensky were writing about. Sophie's generation has yet to be defined. What will it be – digital native 2.0? The Networked Generation? The Wifi Child?
Regardless of the name, this generation undoubtedly has a lot to look forward to.
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