The myths of the digital native (via 3 geeks and a law blog)

On Three Geeks and a Law Blog, Casey Flaherty recently offered insightful commentary on the "myth of the digital native", particularly in the context of legal education and training. Check out both part 1 and part 2 of the topic.

The myth in question is the notion that people who have grown up using computers are therefore adept at using any kind of "technology" (itself a vague term) naturally, without any training.

Flaherty offers evidence from his 20-something students' performance on his Legal Tech Assessment test, which focuses on word processing and spreadsheet tasks. It's probably not a shock to anyone who works with university students or recent graduates that the results were fairly dismal.

The reason, Flaherty argues, is that "Everyone just assumes that they know things that they had no way of knowing absent training. They are not stupid, lazy, or untalented. They are smart, hard working, and full of promise. They simply lack training in one particular area that has the potential to make their lives better."

Indeed, Flaherty further argues that better basic technology skills would improve legal professionals' efficiency and job satisfaction. But no one, including the so-called millennials themselves, seem to see the need for training in basic productivity, information management, and research tools.

Do librarians have a role to play in this conversation?

ALLA(WA) Secretary - Megan Fitzgibbons.
Librarian, University of Western Australia.


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