A new book has grabbed my attention and as I download it from Amazon, I am hoping that it is not simply presenting a new stereotype of today’s young people. The book is called The app Generation: How today’s youth navigate identity, intimacy and imagination in a digital world by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis. I think it is safe to say that we have all realized the shortcomings of the previous label of “digital natives” by Marc Prensky and so it is with much interest that I read this new representation of young people as “The App Generation”. The fact that the authors base their findings on five years of work by their research team at Harvard certainly gives authority to their characterization of young people.
Having only read the preface and the introduction, I’m already enthralled. The preface starts with two questions: How are “the new digital media … affecting the ethical compass of young users”? and in which ways have “young people’s thought processes, personalities, imaginations, and behaviors [been] affected and perhaps radically transformed by their involvement with these media”? (Gardner & Davies, 2013)
The introduction starts with a conversation between the authors, Howard Gardner and Katie Davis, and with Katie’s 16 year old sister, Molly. In the course of the conversation, three key topics emerge and the authors maintain that “courtesy of digital technologies, Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination have each been reconfigured significantly in recent decades”. (Howard & Gardner, 2013) The idea that a young person’s identity has become connected to their crafted public online image fascinates me and it is an idea, I feel must be grasped if we are responsible for preparing students to understand themselves as belonging to the worlds of both the digital citizen and to that of humankind.
To be continued as I read on ……..