Lessons from Digital Natives
My nephews are digital natives. During a recent family reunion, I observed just how naturally mobile technology fit into these 11- and 12-year-old boys’ lives. I heard them banter about their favorite games and even plot their next device upgrade, including how to get the best trade-in value at Radio Shack.
Born in the early 2000s, Luke and James knew how to use an iPhone by the time they were in kindergarten. Today, they own their own devices (Luke, an iPod touch; James, a Samsung tablet). Between their summer vacation activities (a strenuous combination of tennis, trampoline-jumping, and gorging on ice cream), they use their prized devices to keep in touch with friends, play games, deluge Siri with questions, and mimic dance moves on YouTube.
Although my nephews live on opposite coasts, they share a level of comfort with mobile technology I couldn’t have imagined at their age. As a millennial, I consulted my parent’s Encyclopedia Britannica instead of Siri to find answers to my questions. My introduction to mobile technology came in the form of a basic flip phone, and the only game I played on it was Snake, instead of iPhone games with console-level graphics and sophisticated strategies. Change happens quickly, and it’s important for all of us to keep up.
When I asked Luke if he’d prefer having a TV or a mobile device, he chose his iPod touch. His reasoning: “I can do everything with it, and if I want to watch TV, I can just use an app to do that, too.”
Already, Luke sees his iDevice as a source of opportunities and activities adults are accustomed to finding elsewhere. While this may be second nature to the digital generation, many of us are still adjusting to the huge stream of new possibilities our iPhones open up to us.
In this issue, we’ve focused on an area that’s extremely relevant to the mobile world—education. Of the App Store’s 1.2 million offerings, educational content is now the second most popular category of apps, according to analytics provider Statista. From iTunes U’s best distance-education courses (see pg. 44) to apps that help you acquire a specific skill (pg. 36), there are apps that allow us to enjoy learning during every phase of life.
Because iPhones and iPads have introduced change so quickly to traditional education, we’ve also taken the opportunity to explore the implications of mobile technology on childhood development (pg. 62) and take inventory of the effect of iPads in classrooms across America (pg. 48).
This is an important issue, and we’re excited to be sharing it with you. We’ll be waiting to hear about the new levels of wisdom it helps you achieve.
Donna Schill Cleveland
Editor in Chief
iPhone Life magazine, firstname.lastname@example.org