ITGS Online

‘hanging out the dirty linen’ to delve into the ethics of IT’s role in society.

Mark Prensky’s article, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, he talks about how people born into the digital age, after the year 2000, called digital natives find being educated to people born before the age, before the year 2000, called digital immigrants boring. He explains that teachers who are Digital Immigrants cannot teach digital natives the same method they have been teaching other Digital Immigrants through the years, assuming that the digital natives react the same way as to others before them. Prensky uses the example of professors going to his company asking them to create a program that would appeal to students to learn how to use a software. He suggests that “Legacy” content such as Classical Philosophy and History can be taught in a method that appeals to them.

I am against the argument that people should be referred to as digital native and digital immigrants as teachers can change the way they teach, students should learn to adapt to different ways of learning and teachers can be tech savvy or learn to be as efficient as millennials.

First and foremost, teachers in the 21st century have the ability to change their teaching styles. They can change their style of lecturing to using Kahoot to teach the students. A teacher can observe which method works for the students and adapt to what they feel comfortable with. They may use a different method for each topic. The use of a quiz website such as Kahoot puts a competitive nature into education and can help the student recall information easier. Teachers may be able to use games to stimulate their minds that work in parallel to the method that they use. Thus, teachers can use a number of methods that can help students learn and do not have to be boring.

Secondly, students living in the 21st century have to adapt to the different types of teaching methods that the teachers use. The teacher may only know how to teach a subject in one way that may seem not effective, however by adapting to it, students can benefit from it. For instance, universities would have lectures that may be boring but by learning to adapt to it by taking down notes and reorganising it later would help the student understand it. This would later help them with other methods that may seem strange to them. Therefore, there are different methods that teachers use and the student has to adapt to each type.

Finally, the teacher can be or learn to be as technically informed as for their students. People have been adapting throughout history to survive this harsh world. This is called the Red Queen Effect. It states that organisms have been adapting, evolving and proliferating in order to survive. This is what humans have been doing for centuries, so teachers should be able to adapt to the fast-paced society that we live in. Even if they cannot keep up, teachers are able to ask for help from others and can catch up with their students. For instance, computer science teachers have a vast knowledge on how computers work and have myriad resources to use to teach students. Hence, the Red Queen Effect is true for teachers as they have adapted and evolved to the new world and are able to use technology for the benefit of their students.

I believe that the school that I am currently it supports the idea that we should not be defined by the terms of digital natives or digital immigrants. This is because, I have observed that teachers in this school have different types of teaching methods, whether it may be using a PowerPoint, Kahoot, or lecturing. These teaching methods have been refined over the many years that they have been teaching but it may not work with everyone. Additionally, the school provides many different types of technological hardware and software. For example, the school gives laptops to all teachers as the school believes that with the technology they are able to teach students to a greater detail because they are technologically informed about the use of the laptop. As I have mentioned in the first point, the teachers have the skill to use the laptop and other resources to adapt to different types of learning styles that the students use.

My brother considers himself a digital native. He agreed with the definition of digital natives and digital immigrants that Marc Prensky sets out.

The social/ethical issues discussed in this topic are people and machines and the digital divide and equality of access. I chose people and machines as it is about the interaction between people and technology whether it may be teachers or students. The digital divide and equality of access were chosen as it can be said that digital immigrants have a lack of interest towards new technology, thus widening the digital divide between the teacher and the student.

In my opinion, after considering all the points I have stated, I still believe that we should not be defined as digital natives and immigrants. This is because, Marc Prensky himself is a digital immigrant, as he grew up without knowledge of technology. Yet, he is able to keep up with technology and program games that appeal to the millennials and their 21st-century learning style. My conviction is that people in their late 70s and older should be considered the real digital immigrants. These are the people that do not understand how the technology works and how it impacts people in the 21st century. What is more, digital native teachers would only start teaching in a few years, but who says that what they have experienced would be beneficial to the students that they will be teaching and that the training they have received would adapt to “Future Content”. In conclusion, I believe that people should not be defined by the terms digital natives and digital immigrants as people can adapt to technology differently and can be more knowledgeable about than others younger than them

In the article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” by Marc Prensky, he first establishes his terms ‘Digital Natives’ and ‘Digital Immigrants’. A Digital Native is someone who has spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age; whilst a Digital Immigrant is someone who was not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in their lives, become fascinated by and adopted or most aspects of the new technology. He then proceeds to discuss how the minds of Digital Natives have physically changed to think and process information fundamentally differently which affects thinking patterns. Prensky thus describes this change like a singularity, proposing its significance in human history. He also suggests that today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach. This is due to Digital Natives being used to parallel processing, multi-tasking and receiving information really fast. They also prefer random access, function best when networked and thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. Finally, they prefer games to “serious work”. As a result of this change, Prensky recommends that Digital Immigrant teachers must reconsider and adopt a better methodology to teach the content to Digital Natives.

In this blog, I will be for his argument that the people in our world today can be classified into Digital Natives and Immigrants, that the minds of Digital Natives have changed and that the education system will have to be reformed and developed to suit Digital Natives.

First and foremost, Prensky’s definitions of Digital Natives and Immigrants is true as technology has significantly changed since the beginning of the 20th Century. Beginning with floppy disks, Discmans, DVDs and cellphones; then with the onslaught of the flash drive, the iPod, smartphones and tablets and even streaming videos from the web; technology has never had a leap this big since the proliferation of digital computers and recording. A new, smaller and faster storage medium, MP3 player and personal device has made digital information more accessible than ever. Along with all this, huge internet companies like Youtube (2005), Facebook (2004), Amazon (1994) and Twitter (2006) have all been part of the brain-changing process of Digital Natives.

Secondly, Digital Immigrants would have had all this technology been introduced to them a fair amount after they were born, forcing them to change the way they think to learn to use it and apply it in their life. Digital Natives however are born into the world of technology and their minds are already accustomed to this new concept straight after birth – leading to a redesigned brain.

Thirdly, due to the absence of technology in the lives Digital Immigrants, they had been forced to limited physical resources such as teachers, textbooks, books, parents and their friends – resulting in a completely opposite mindset of a Digital Natives’. Nowadays, the World Wide Web is a very crucial system which has a wealth of information to be shared. Social media platforms enable and encourage international mindedness and opens up Digital Natives to a wider perspective, yet again altering their minds to learn in a completely new way to Digital Immigrants.

In my school I think it has definitely moved to a more modern Digital-Native-like mindset as technology is being and integrated more into our learning. In terms of hardware there are IT suites with iMacs for each student in the class (plus even more Macbook Airs for portability); Flat screen TVs have been placed on walls around the school and finally all classrooms have a smart board accompanied by a stereo sound system. Software has also been used to enhance our learning such as the use of programs such as Quizlet and Kahoot equipped with games and puzzles to help retain information, and most importantly the main school system Firefly which asserts the Prensky’s points of instantaneity and random access – where teachers can share resources and make it easier to see when tasks are due. This concept of an online diary can be a substitute for a physical one, which Digital Natives may prefer.

I asked my parents what they thought of Prensky’s terms and definitions and as expected was informed that they agree with it and find that they fit the category of a Digital Immigrant. Next, I asked my sister for her opinions and that was quite fascinating. She said that due to the year she was born (1996), she would be a Digital Native, but she also discussed how she does not think these terms would fit in other 3rd world countries as technology would have been introduced much later on compared to 1st world countries – thus the terms are also affected by socioeconomic status. Moreover, she also spoke about how the influence of social media affects what type of Digital Native you are, so if you were born before social media kicked off or before.

In this article, the social/ethical issues that have been raised are: Policies, Globalisation, People and machines, Equality of Access and Standards.

In my opinion, I think Prensky has introduced a very important and significant opinion which most people would agree to. The terms Digital Native and Digital Immigrant can be applicable to most people in 1st world countries but I think it would not for 3rd world countries. This is because the time when technology was introduced to them was different compared to other more developed countries, so their definition of a Digital Natives and Immigrants would be different. On the other hand, I do also believe that schools have had a good start in incorporating the use of technology in teaching, but I would hope that in the future my school would further integrate its use. For certain professions I believe the conventional way of learning seems to be the most efficient, but most professions could have a little more mixture with technology. For the time being I am happy learning from both the “old” way and “new” way as it bests suits me and my learning.


ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

What is the Red Queen Effect?

Delving deeper into the thoughtful book Liars and Outliers” by Bruce Schneier, this time we move onto the Natural History of Security where Schneier takes us through the course of history, informing us about the origins of security and how its development has affected modern day’s society.

Beginning the chapter he begins with “Security is what you need when you don’t have any trust”. Modern day security has diversified into myriad of options (both physical and digital) and exploring the extent of each of these individual security systems definitely marks how far humans have developed since 300,000 years ago. Some questions that I thought of: How much is too much security? Can we have trust with minimal security?

However, all of us know that there will be Liars and Outliers out there.

Schneier also describes how evolution is an arbitrary process. In the early stages and now, preys and predators have also been playing this one-up game where whoever can outsmart the other will win; randomly discovering new ways to kill or escape. The the Red Queen Effect, came after Lewis Carroll‘s race in Through the Looking-Glass” : “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”. This also relates to Charles Darwin‘s quote “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”. As some organisms evolve by responding to stimuli, the organism who responds the quickest will be the fittest to survive, thus inducing a faster response in other competing organisms. This process is called the Red Queen Effect which allows evolution to take place. I find this very intriguing and have noticed how it has become a natural behaviour to humans – which has perhaps come with evolution.

Placing it in our perspective, humans are able to respond much quicker than animals due to our ability to transmit skills and ideas. This has drastically made us evolve increasingly quicker than other organisms, but has also made us the most dangerous and yet safe. Humans use intelligence to deal with the threats from other intelligent individuals but also use it to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“Out ancestors grew smarter because those around them grew smarter, and the only way to keep up was to become even smarter”. And that my friends is the Red Queen Effect in action.

Here are links to two diagrams from the book explaining the effect:

Red Queen Effect in Action

Red Queen Effect Feedback Loop

In conclusion, I have summarised all the ideas into this line: An Increase in intelligence leads to an increase in security.


In the continuation of Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, he explains the concept behind the digital lock through Doctorow’s First Law.

In the first title, “Anti-Circumvention Explained”,  he explains that the phrase is a law that is against getting around a digital lock. A digital lock is something that prevents an action that the user is trying to do. The DMCA states that it is illegal to hack into a movie with a digital lock and change it around. Doctorow states that anti-circumvention, “is a way of making up new copyright laws”. But this does not mean copyright protection.

The next two titles talk about whether or not digital locks are some sort of copyright protection. Unfortunately, as Doctorow explains it, no. Because of anti-circumvention, distributors which the creators give the products for them to promote are in control as soon as they put a digital lock on it. These distributors control the product and in doing so, forces the creator to do whatever they want as they have the product. The creator cannot take the product away and give it to another company. However, even if the creator thinks the product is safe, with a digital lock, they will have 5 problems:

  1. The audience can save the file while it’s decrypted by the player
  2. The audience can start to copy the file
  3. The audience can take your keys and make their own player
  4. The audience can tell other people to take your keys
  5. The audience can publish the keys

This means that once the distributor puts the product online, people can immediately start distributing it on other websites.

“Digital Locks Always Break”, states that Digital-Lock vendors only protect some parts of the file but leaves other parts exposed to hackers. This has lead to the Internet containing, “a copy of the movie, book, game or song you want”. This has been because of a method that was found out by a programmer called Muslix64. With this, the system of the file failed and everyone was able to use the file. For example, it only takes 3 minutes for a song with a digital lock to appear on a file-sharing service.

In conclusion, the digital lock is not for anyone but the company who is keeping the files. Even then, it does not protect the file, it is only a slight hiccup to the audience. I believe that digital locks are the nightmare that causes millions of problems for everyone except the audience. It is a nuisance for those who wish to get a free copy of the product but for the creator, the hard work that they put in into their product is lost.

ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

In Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, his knowledge on the topics of copyright, money making and jobs are all summarized in chapter 0.

The “Detente” explains the history of copyright and it’s wars from five hundred years ago, between the religious centres of Canterbury and Rome, and the 1930s, between ASCAP and radio stations. Doctorow states that, “It’s been more than five years since the copyright wats began, and they show no signs of abating”. He explains that as an artist, the only thing that you want to do is to create and get paid for it, not get mixed up with copyright which will frustrate your life.

The next title “What Makes Money?”, explains that the artists of tomorrow need to rely on the internet in order to earn money and that we cannot depend on, “the one that Hollywood is betting on”. Doctorow says that as entrepreneurs, we cannot:

  • complain about piracy
  • call our customers thieves
  • treat our customers like thieves

Thus, artists must rely on the internet in order to make money in the new world.

Finally, Cory Doctorow summarizes the last title with three important things on how to have a career in the arts, you need:

  1. Persistence
  2. Talent
  3. Know how the internet works

The persistence in sticking with a job in the arts, the talent in your field and having the online world in your hands’ will steer you to a good career.

In conclusion, the author perfectly sets out chapter 0 with three important titles that relate to each other and all have the same conclusion, know how to use the internet and it can help you in many ways.

ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

Consistency DOES NOT EQUAL Trustworthiness

Liars & Outliers by Bruce Schneier is a book about trust and how it affects society. Additionally, trust links to security as there are always Liars and Outliers in every society.

Society is all based on trust and without it, many big corporations will not be able to function. Business strategist Don Tapscott described trust in business as: “The other party will be honest, considerate, accountable and transparent. Thus when two people are consistent in this way, we call them cooperative”.

However the idea of trust may change when applying it to the context of ITGS: -relating to identity theft- Would interacting with someone you met online be deemed more trustworthy than meeting someone in person? Would you trust Google to keep your own passwords? And perhaps once this trust is broken, would that mean Google will no longer be trustworthy to store our information? Most people will just willingly let Google store their password due to the increased ease of access it provides to them.

Trust is extremely vital in our society. Schneier gives examples in everyday lives and really makes readers realise how people trust others very easily – such as the simple job of the plumber coming over to your house and fixing the drain (as the plumber is now in your home and can do whatever they want). But somehow, most people trust each other in this situation (impersonal trust)

Furthermore, Schneier informs us about Security including physical and non-physical systems such as the law system and justice system. These systems would then be served to protect the majority of the society who choose to follow the rules and norm whilst punishing the ones who disobey the rules. Which will mean most people will tend to TRUST the system more than people.

Lastly in the overview, Schneier says trust is relative meaning the mailman delivers the mail to your house everyday without fail, does not mean he doesn’t steal roses from your garden; so he might only be deemed trustworthy in only one aspect but not in others – therefore Consistency DOES NOT EQUAL Trustworthiness.


« Previous Entries  Next Page »