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Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
When asked what Facebook is for, kids will say that it's there to help them make friends. The kids the author celebrated in his early books as "digital natives," capable of seeing through all efforts of big media and marketing, have actually proven less able to discern the integrity of the sources they read and the intentions of the programs they use than struggling adults are. If they do not know what the programs they're using are even for, they do not stand a chance at using them effectively. They're less likely to become power users than the used. It is the job of educators to change all this. Educators are students' best chance of becoming media--or new media--literate. Yet educators' digital practices betray their own unconscious approach toward these media. They employ technologies in their lives and their curriculums by force of habit or fear of being left behind. America is one of the only developed nations that doesn't teach programming in its public schools. The author believes this is a great mistake, suggesting that what we think of as "literacy" must be redefined every time a new medium emerges. Literacy once meant the ability to read and write text. Now it's the ability to read and write programs. If we continue to treat programming as a menial skill to be outsourced to developing nations, we'll lose our innovative superiority as well. In this article, the author shares his second thoughts about educators' digital practices.