Friday, August 5, 2011

Dancing with Digital Natives - Book Review

Dancing with Digital Natives is a new, and interesting, book edited by Michelle Manafy and Heidi Gautschi. It is a must-read for anyone interested in generations in the workplace, especially Gen Y, and how this generation, and their exposure to technology, is changing the way business does business. That being said, the editors are clear that digital natives might not fit nicely into a specific generation – instead, this term relates to “early exposure to digital technologies” (p. xiii).

The editors and authors cover a wide range of topics including social media, intellectual property, and marketing to, hiring, and educating the digital native. There is also a very interesting topic related to digital natives in policing.

A few tidbits I found interesting
  • Editors echoed what I first heard, with some surprise, from Jason Ryan Dorsey during his keynote address at the 2010 NCDA conference – don’t expect this group to know how to use technology. As Dorsey points out – they are more tech dependent than tech savvy"
  • Managers don’t need to embrace social media or digital technologies personally but they do need to understand it as an “emerging work practice if they wish to maximize the digital native work force” (p. 17) 
  • The ethics chapter mirrors many of the discussions we, as career practitioners, have with clients including how prospective employers can probably find those “wild weekend photos” posted to a Facebook page and how we as consultants, recognize that intellectual property in a digital age is different 
  • As a parent of a 12 year-old exposed to digital technology at an early age, the section on educating the digital native was eye-opening. The final chapter Native Knowledge: Knowing What They Know and Learning How to Teach them Best is a must for any educator. Would it be inappropriate to purchase a copy for my son’s teacher?
Overall I highly recommend adding this book to your library. Dancing with Digital Natives is available at Amazon , Chapters , and other retailers.

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