Mark Prensky’s article ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants‘ makes some interesting points about generational shifts around thinking and practice caused by digital technology.
He refers to the impact of digital tech as a singularity which has produced today’s digital native generation. A gernation born into the internet, video games, mobile phones and social networks.
One of the key challenges Prensky identifies is that facing teachers today in bridging their pre-digital knolwedge and practices with that of the students they teach. He emphasises the advantages of video games as a perfect teaching tool today. He sees video games as a great way to teach old things in a new way.
Presky argues there are two types of content that can be taught today – ‘legacy’ and ‘future’ content. Legacy content is the classic education elements of reading, writing, arithmatic etc of a traditional education. the future content covers issues of ethics, politics, sociology, language and semiotics, etc. Presky argues there must be a way to teach both legacy and future content in an engaging way to today’s students. This is where Presky sees video games being an invaluable tool. He refers to Pokemon monster memorisation and its possibilities for geography and learning countries, etc and other egs.
This has me thinking about how the games I play may provide a practice/knowledge framework for understanding legacy and future content. Eg: music games and celebrity culture/recording industry dynamics. What about first person shooters like Far Cry or Bioshock? I like the idea of Pokemon and geography. The Resident Evil 5 controversy around racism, Modern Warfare 2 and queer culture?
Or alternatively, looking at how fans or commentators on games are using them in ways that already intersect with legacy and future content. As other theorists have pointed out, fans can make theory themselves – it is not the exclusive domain of academics. A more parallel, horizontal type of teaching/research can yield amazing insights and data. So, what examples are there that show some of these Digital Immigrant/Digital Native crossover, or Legacy/future content emerging from game play (not explecitly designed to be edutainment)?
It may be in this space of parallel, horizontal relationship between generations, researcher-participant, parent and child that Jenkins ideal of a digital multiculturalism could replace the more devisive assumptions of the native/immigrant binary.