Used in a report by Educause Center for Applied Research (part of a group that promotes technology use in higher education) to describe a person who's grown up immersed in Internet/digital technology and "leisure devices" (think iPod).
That's me. I'm probably the first generation that can really claim that, and even I barely made it in -- I've been on computers since I was two (the PC was a pretty new concept, then) and first got on the internet when I was ten. It's the second generation that frightens me though, the kids who text each other as naturally as breathing (and as frequently, it seems). When I was growing up, I was the nerd. It's weird to see ordinary, average non-nerdy kids so in-tune with that stuff today.
I remember the sound of that tape drive! In middle school I bought myself a VIC-20 with my lawn mowing proceeds. 5k of RAM! I was obsessed with it for a few years, then stuck it in a closet and didn't really touch another computer until I was introduced to the Interweb in 1995.
That's not entirely true. I was given a Mac Plus (no hard drive!) as a high school graduation gift in 1988, which I promptly sold to buy drugs.
I had a Timex Sinclair. It was pre-Commodore 64 I think--maybe not--but hooked up to the TV in the living room. It SUCKED out loud on toast.
Also, in my job (creating educational media), we are VERY familiar with the "phenomenon" of digital natives vs. digital immigrants. We in the field, for example, are almost all digital immigrants, while the people we are creating products for are digital natives. It does change how we do things.
A Timex Sinclair, with that tiny little chiclet keyboard! I'd forgotten all about those. An underpowered little turd of a computer, but I thought they were the bee's knees in middle school.
This discussion reminds me of the one laptop per child initiative, and their recently announced buy one give one program, which I'm sorely tempted to participate in. I saw an XO laptop at a conference this summer, and they're beautifully designed little computers. It would be a Good Thing if the OLPC program and similar initiatives made digital natives out of a lot of kids in a lot of places who otherwise wouldn't have been.
VO, thanks for the link. I agree that this phrase tends to bring to mind younger (vs. older) users of technology, which is surely an oversimplification. The other day I was reading a complaint by a 50-something editor/instructor for a graduate-level publishing course who was appalled that none of her students were as tech-savvy as she. She wondered whether it meant that those in liberal arts fields (of any age) were generally less technologically skilled than those in other fields (science, for example). So "digital native" and "digital immigrant" could refer to anyone of any age, I'd imagine.
Bah humbug! I remember when we had to punch our very own Hollerith cards, assemble the bunch, pray to zeus that nobody would drop or shuffle them, then take them down to be handed over to the zitty geeks in the basement of the computer center for submission into the belly of the beast. One had to wait until 10am the next day to check back to see if this process actually generated any "output".
Hey sionnach, guess that makes you a digital native :-P When I worked at Woods Hole there were 10,000 ancient Hollerith cards lying around the computer department. If I had to program with those things I'd be a poet right now. Ok fine, a poetaster. But definitely not a programmer.
Harking back to my XO laptop comment from two years ago, a friend got one, and turns out they're totally useless. Cute as they are, they're just too underpowered to do anything useful.