There are some people who I pay attention to but don’t usually agree with. Don Tapscott is one of them. He is a big name in education but while I find his research interesting, I don’t think he is a radical enough thinker. Even so, I still watch what he says.
I came across this video from his website where he talks about the Net Generation. This is the generation now hitting college. This is the first generation to grow up with the Internet.
Here’s the video.
I want to draw your attention to two sections in particular.
First is from time 6:38 where he talks about brain development. I am encouraged to see this work. My son is in the 0-3 year old range (16 mo) and I can attest to how fast he is learning things. The other day he took my iPad, unlocked the home screen (I don’t have a combination on it), flipped through the pages of apps and launched Netflix by carefully pressing the icon. (the red icon is where he can see Curious George). Now I have taught him NONE of that. He just watched me a little and then has been experimenting himself. It is completely remarkable how fluid and adaptive his brain is at this age.
The other section I liked starts at 10:25 where he talks about how his son read one of his books and started a Facebook page for it. This tells me several things about Internet technology.
- Internet technology is not limited by age.
- The cost of entry is essentially zero so anyone can use it.
- The power of the Internet is to allow aggregation and organization of resource by idea not by location. He talks about this and calls it self-organization. (time 11:50)
- The risk of creation is also essentially zero so many people try it.
- There can be rewards for doing this but they are actually pretty rare.
- If the material reward is low, then people are creating online for different reasons.
It’s a good video and worth watching. Like I said, I don’t agree with him on everything but he’s a valuable resource for education thinking.