99-Year-Old Woman Uses iPad

99-Year-Old Woman Uses iPad

In other news:

  • Asian Drives to Destination without Mishap
  • Black Teen Graduates High School
  • Woman Changes Light Bulb and Car Tires

To be clear, I don’t mean to belittle people’s disadvantages and social hardships–just commenting on how the rhetorical intent or move to liberate, because of the spectacle, can actually become socially counterproductive.  This whole thing does get me thinking about the assumptions we have about technology/new media and demographics–kind of in the same patronising vein as talk… ing… ve… ry… slow… ly… for… E… S… L… stu… dents… (because we all know that they have to watch Hollywood movies in slow motion to understand the dialogue).

The obvious pedagogical lesson here might be: Thinking older students to be technologically illiterate could be a big oops.  But, more recently, I worked with a younger student on writing up sections of his e-folio for a class, moved on at my own pace, using new media jargon because I thought not only were we probably on the same wavelength, but he would probably teach me a thing or two, so I was just trying to “speak his language.”  Wrong.  And it pains me to think that I could have been making him feel stupid for not keeping up or understanding me.  And this is on top of what messages he might already be exposed to, through peers and mass media, that normalise a certain standard of new media literacy, which are definitely a huge pressure.  I apologised, offered him a Hello Panda chocolate snack, and the session moved on smoothly.  So, conversely, assuming our fresh-out-of-high-school students to all be multimodal multitaskers might also prove detrimental.  To reaffirm Nate’s reminder last Tuesday, the digital divide is alive and well.


One comment on “99-Year-Old Woman Uses iPad

  1. This is a very important point, Al. We must remember that every student has a different story. Just because someone is of the net-genreation does not mean that someone is a digital native. Digital Nativism requires access to technology, something many of our students may never have had. Conversely, an older person returning to school may be a tecno whiz. It is important for us to be aware of the range of possible learning experiences and to try to evaluate each student’s individual skills and needs.

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