I don’t necessarily think the positions of Boyd, Wesch and Prensky are entirely divergent. I think they all agree that with the advent of the web, how students access and process information has changed, and education needs to change greatly to keep up with it. They all agree that our students have an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. How we use this information and method of information access and dissemination in our education system needs to be carefully rethought. We need to teach in a way to utilize this information superhighway and use it to captivate the attention of students who are extremely engaged by it.
Boyd thinks that student’s levels of technical knowledge vary greatly so they don’t all fit in the digital “native” category as they have to learn the new digital skills mostly on their own. Boyd also points out that having access to all that information is not good enough and that student’s have to learn how to evaluate the information critically. Both Boyd and Wesch agree that with we need to rethink how we teach using information and sources because of the web. With the advent of the web, research skills, such as source evaluation and citing sources, have to be taught in an entirely new way.
Boyd, Wesch and Prensky also all agree on the fact that we need to catch up what and how we are teaching to these new technologies. Boyd thinks the kids are teaching themselves these technologies. Prensky things our educational system isn’t teaching our current students because of the differences between the “natives,” and the "immigrants." Wesch states that the flow, in both directions, of information has changed so much that how we teach our students to accumulate, process and disseminate information and knowledge has to change vastly too.
I think some of the characteristics Prensky attributes to digital “natives” such as going twitch speed, parallel processing, random access and graphics first are traits that many people develop after using the internet for vast amounts of time. I see these traits developing in digital “immigrants” such as myself after copious amounts of internet use. I think they are more general traits that can be attributed to the “digital lifestyle.”
Although the digital “native” and “immigrant” terminology describes the situation on the surface, I think it is much too general to describe what is really going on. I am mostly in agreement with Boyd as far as use of this terminology goes. I think the younger generation appears to be digital “natives” as a whole because they have been around the technology for a greater part of their lives, and are thus very comfortable with it. That comfort in no way implies that they are more knowledgable about it than the older generation. I know many adults, myself included, that have a much deeper understanding of the new web-based technologies, how they work and were created, than most of the younger generation. With the younger people I think because it is the only world they have ever known they just immediately go to the web for things, thus their high usage and ease with the web. This does not necessarily mean they are smarter about using it or know more about it. Just because they learned how to use the web at a younger age than we did doesn't mean that they are smarter about it than we are.