The idea that a child could be born a digital native makes as much sense as the idea that a child could be born literate.
Like reading and writing skills, digital literacy is something constructed inside children while interacting with their environment. It's not about their DNA -- it's about opportunity and guidance.
Part of the illusion here is that too many people mistakenly think a student's digital comfort level equates to their digital skill level or digital literacy.
Phil McRae with the The Alberta Teachers' Association describes some of the results of a recent Canadian study on technology and teacher-student relationships:
Another common finding was that teachers are often unable to make full use of social media in their teaching practice because firewalls prevent them from accessing services such as Twitter, Skype and YouTube. This is an important finding—if we are to teach students to be critical consumers and thoughtful citizens in a digital age, teachers need to be trusted to make pedagogic decisions on the application of technology.If a school blocks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, how are teachers suppose to learn about social networking?
If a school blocks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, how are teachers suppose to teach students how to use social networking appropriately?
If a school blocks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, how are teachers suppose to teach students how to NOT use social networking inappropriately?
If we deny students and teachers access to social networking in schools where they can learn together about how to properly navigate Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Skype in ways that are pro-social and responsible, we shouldn't be surprised when kids grow up to be adults who use social networking in dysfunctional and dangerous ways.