A DIGITAL DIVIDE?
A good article here on the cultural, educational and organizational implications of information technology "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants
" (PDF) by Marc Prensky
( Hat tip net-centric dialog.
Prensky also has a blog
Having worked with students on the extreme ends of the spectrum ( both in terms of the Bell Curve and socioeconomic status) during the period where IT phased into schools, universities and the larger society, I have to give an endorsement to Prensky's observations.
American children today are strikingly different learners in the classroom than those from as little as five years ago because IT and internet access has become ubiquitous. The changes are far more modest at the lower socioeconomic quintiles or at small rural school systems but even there they exist.
Students are more receptive to alinear thinking; they naturally multitask; they automatically incorporate IT into their socialization and autonomy from adult supervision; they have higher expectations for ( and impatience with) teacher-delivery of content; they can produce 4th grade presentations that look more visually appealing in terms of design than what a consultant might have produced to illustrate a proposal for, say, a meeting with a CEO circa 1995.
With that cultural assimilation comes some negatives, including a difficulty with sustained attention to task, particularly reading, though that can hardly be laid entirely at the door of IT. However, the cultural shift toward Toffler's " Third Wave" information society would appear to be taking root.