Saturday, December 8, 2007

Digital Shift is On ~ The "digital natives" will stop showing up unless we shift with it!

December 8, 2007

One of the things I saw over the last few years in the Roman Catholic church I attended when I was young is how many gray heads were sitting in the pews during mass on Sunday. What was going on? How will the church have to change to enlist youth in religion?

I have been speaking over the last few month about the digital shift occurring in our youth. We see that in the electronic devices they use and have access to each day. How will schools have to change to keep up with this shift to enlist youth in education?

An then again... what are the implications of Weinberger's observations and theories?

Last night I collected my computer and Logitech laptop camera to attend the David Weinberger dinner and lecture I mentioned in my December 5th blog post. When I arrived at the dinner which I had assumed was going to be a small, intimate dinner with the author and some friends, I was surprised to see over a hundred people in their 60's and 70's feasting on a buffet dinner. I learned that the dinner was part of a Friday Forum lecture series.

I was out of place, not because of my age, but because of my computer. Once again (this happens everywhere) I was the only one with a black leather computer case. The digital shift is not ubiquitous yet.

It was a pleasant meal with some friendly people, but I wanted to engage with the author about his thinking and this wasn't going to be the forum for that kind of an exchange. The organizer for the event did introduce me to Weinberger. I told him I was looking forward to his presentation; "you have put words to what I have been thinking," I said to him. Weinberger replied, "Good thing your thoughts aren't copyrighted."

I was the first to leave dinner; I wanted to get to the lecture hall so I could test out the internet connection and prepare for my broadcast. Although I still hadn't figured out how to archive a broadcast, I still wanted to try; sooner or later I will find out and the experience with broadcasting will get me ready for my EduCon 2.0 presentation on January 26, 2007, Claiming what we Imagine.

I fired up Firefox only to get the "no connection screen." I fittled with with "View available Networks" and found that they was a wireless connection in the air, but when I tried to connect, I got a message asking me for an ID, password, and room number. Frustrating, but it happens everywhere, either there is no connection or their is a connection for only the registered users. Obviously, with no connection, no Ustream broadcast.

People from the dinner and many others (totaling I'd guess 250) shuffled into the lecture hall. Most were in their 60's and 70's ~ no one had a computer but me. David Weinberger was introduced with words of praise that must have come from the reviews of his new book. He began his presentation and wow! It was almost exactly the same presentation he gave on Google. See PART 2, December 6th below. How ironic! Here is a Fellow from Harvard's prestigious Berkman Institute for Internet & Society speaking about how accessible knowledge on the internet is for users and I'm sitting in a presentation for the second time! I found out later on his blog that the presentation is his "stump speech" for his new book.

Did he assume no one would Google his name and find the presentation video and watch it before the Friday Night lecture? Did it not occur to him to even make the connection between his online version, the presentation I was watching and an internet literate audience?

I am grateful to have access to his ideas online and it doesn't seem to have dampened the enthusiasm for him as a speaker with the "digital immigrant" generations. Will we realize that a monster is growing among us?

  • Digital natives are the result of our world's cultural and economic inclinations.
  • Inertia is preventing us from changing to digital habits (ubiquitous internet access?).
  • Digital natives are not showing up to analog institutions: churches, education, Friday Night lectures.


joho said...


Good to meet you, if only briefly.

Yes, I do have a stump speech. I give lots of talks and I vary them to suit, but I don't write new talks for every event. Sorry you had to sit through it twice.

Looking forward to meeting you for more than a minute sometime...


David W.

Dennis Richards said...

Hello David W.,

Tags are amazing. Glad you dropped by to read my post. I find your thoughts fascinating and would love to speak with you some time about K12 education. I am writing an article about 21st Century literacy and the implications for how we organize learning experiences for students in our schools and the community.

You have my Skype and Twitter IDs below. Consider this an open invitation.


Dennis R.

Charlene Chausis said...

Hi Dennis
The Ustream is really quite easy. You can practice at anytime and then delete your practice file. You need to enable your camera, then start the broadcast, then also start recording. Be sure when you stop, you take time to save and name the "show" before you close your computer.

Do you also know about the wiki that Steve Dembo started?


Dennis Richards said...

Hi Charlene,
Thanks for the technical insight on Ustream.TV. I tried it out and it works just like you said it would. Now I'm ready for my first real broadcast.

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