Friday, 15 January 2010

Nativos Digitales- a book to read

Last November I had the pleasure of attending a presentation given by Alejandro Piscitelli at Virtual Educa Congress. His presentation, massively attended by specialists on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), was about digital literacy and the Argentine Education system.

It was really moving, sometimes ironic and sarcastic. Alejandro showed some acid humour when he opened his presentation with a slide showing an oven and the phrase “We are in the oven” (1) and continued describing with rich vocabulary the educational system resistance to put the use of ICT into practice.

(1) It stands for the Spanish local colloquial expression “estamos en el horno” which means we are in a really difficult situation.

Piscitelli’s book

Alejandro wrote, among other titles, "Nativos Digitales" (2). Although I had already read quite a lot about the topic in English, I decided to buy his book to know more about his opinion after having heard him at Virtual Educa. Luckily, I was not disappointed at all. I found Piscitelli’s style energetic, powerful, to the point, controversial; it not only gives information and describes conflicts, but also inserts questions to reflect upon. Nativos Digitales is, in fact, two books in one because the author enlarges facts and statements with very complete quotations to support his ideas making the text hypertextual.

(2) “Digital Natives” in English

The prologue was written by Francis Pisani and the text divided into three sections and 12 chapters is absolutely not for newbies due to a lot of technical language and references presented in a frantic rhythm.

Briefly, Section I states the reason why new generations’ (born after 2000) way of learning is different from their elders. Nothing escapes from the author’s attentive eyes which analyze all audiovisual media manifestations from video games, TV series, movies to the net, of course; Section II is really enlightening and challenging when Piscitelli clearly describes the teachers’ skills necessary to be a good professional in the XXI century, and Section III describes how digital technologies have affected society, economy, philosophy, art. Nativos Digitales ends with a complete bibliography referring to material in Spanish as well as in English.

Who is the author?

Alejandro Picsitelli is a university professor who thinks that in a constantly changing world, he who stays in the same place, goes back. Consequently, looking at the future and with the coming of digital technologies, he has become well-experienced in the use of ICT in education. Since 1996, he has been in charge of the course of studies Taller de Procesamiento de Datos, Informática y Telemática (Workshop on Data Processing, Informatics and Telematics) at the School of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, where he and his students work on the Facebook project.

In 2003, he was in charge of the re-launching of  – the educational portal of the Argentine Nation – which had been created with the support of the Martín Varsavsky Foundation in 2000, but after the economical and political breakdown which took place in Argentina in 2001, the portal needed to be reorganized. Piscitelli considers his experience in as the most challenging in his life.

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