Their space: Education for the Digital Generation

From Scotland via Derek Robertson at Hotmilkydrink:

On my way through to Edinburgh this morning I decided to listen to the latest edition of the BBC’s Digital Planet podcast. This is a really good show that never fails to throw up something of interest and relevance to me in my professional and personal dealing with technology.

The first article featured a new research paper from DEMOS called Their Space: Education for the Digital Generation. It proved to be quite an enlightening listen because they actually had a digital native on the programme! This 15 year old girl talked about how she and her friends used ICT in an invisible way in their lives. The only time it became overtly visible she claims was when teachers, (due to government regulations no doubt she mutters under her breath) told pupils that ‘this is a mouse’ or ‘save your file to the appropriate folder’!!! The contempt was tangible I tell you.

The DEMOS paper draws on qualitative research with children and polling of parents to counter the myths obscuring the true value of digital media. Some quotes from the Executive Summary of this 81 page document gives an indication of the content:

  1. In an economy driven by knowledge rather than manufacturing, employers are already valuing very different skills, such as creativity, communication, presentation skills and team-building.
  2. Schools are at the front line of this change and need to think about how they can prepare young people for the future workplace.
  3. Schools need to recognise the new digital divide – one of access to knowledge rather than hardware – and start to redress some of the existing imbalances.
  4. Students are changing the society they live in along the progressive lines that are built into the technology they use everyday – of networks,
    collaboration, co-production and participation. The change in
    behaviour has already happened.We have to get used to it, accept that the flow of knowledge moves both ways and do our best to make sure that no one is left behind.


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