Growing Up Digital is a must read for parents, educators, business leaders, and anyone else concerned about the future. According to Don Tapscott, the fact that the Net Generation is the first to know more about technology than their parents and to control the use of the new media has serious implications that must be considered. Their expertise and knowledge are causing a power shift in the relationship of children in the family, the school, and potentially the workplace, and the economy. Throughout the book, Tapscott discusses the potential impact of the N-generation on these institutions and enthusiastically paints a reassuring picture of the new technologies overall effects. He bases his conclusions on anecdotal evidence, case studies, personal interviews, and research conducted in a limited number of newsgroups, chats and MOOs. His findings suggest that children have been empowered by the digital media to develop critical thinking skills and use technology to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information. They thrive on interacting and communicating, and are developing skills in collaborating and teamwork. Though they reject many aspects of the status quo, they are active proponents of saving the environment and the planet. They accept diversity and have global awareness and consciousness.
Tapscott creates a roadmap of the changes he believes must take place in education and industry in order to accommodate the n-generation. He outlines the new role that teachers must take-that of facilitator and motivator--and urges a shift from pedagogy to the creation of learning partnerships and learning cultures with both teachers and students participating in the design. He proposes a learning model of student-centered discovery enabled by emerging technologies.
According to Tapscott, as the Net Generation takes their place as knowledge workers in the corporate world, organizations must restructure to accommodate their networked learning/working style. Because they are the key capital investment in their corporations, organizations with hierarchical, top-down models of leadership will not survive. Only corporations that adapt to their needs for flatter, more open and responsive organizations and culture, and open communication will be able to maintain their human assets.
Tapscott's warn us to act now to prevent a digital divide, caused by the fact that many families and schools do not have computers and access to the Internet. He argues that unless government, business, and the private sector take roles in financing, building, and supporting new media technology growth in the schools and communities, we may end up as a two-tiered society.
Overall, I felt this book provides a powerful picture of the effect of growing up digital on the Net Generation and our future economy, social structures, industry, and culture. If we can adapt, the future looks promising.