In their latest article, Amiama-Espaillat and Mayor-Ruiz demonstrated a comprehensive study on Generation Z in the Dominican Republic. Aiming at assessing their digital reading and reading competence, the researchers conducted survey among adolescents at 10th grade in both public and private schools. Adopting existing reading competence measure scales, the researchers discovered that the reading proficiency literacy vary between students in the two types of schools.
It is concluded that, “a student with prior knowledge and one who lives in a literate culture will more efficiently incorporate what one has read while at the same time enriching one’s reading experience. It is a matter of the ‘rich get richer.'” On the contrary, a student with limited prior knowledge and reading habitus, even if the person reads a lot and uses ICTs, that student will be unable to efficiently incorporate the information.
Cruel but true, the gaps in whatever terms such as knowledge gap, digital gap and so on, exist and the situation is even getting deteriorated. It has been testified by lots of scholars that, what matters most to people’s digital competence is their knowledge of how to use it and the peer culture that creates a “habitus” of “getting used to using it”, instead of the how the quantity of digital devices available to the people. To put it in an ancient Chinese saying, “it is better teach how to fish than give fish” – an ancient wisdom while still exhibits contemporary universal value. This significant but callous phenomenon has been well proved by the authors.
While the measure tools adopted by Amiama-Espaillat and Mayor-Ruiz so comprehensive that we as readers are able to grasp a general picture of how Dominican teenagers make use of their digital devices in daily life, I am curious if the teens, who show lower points in reading proficiency competence, could be regarded as “low competence”. As the authors of the article well aware of that: “students’ use of Internet, even for academic purposes, seems to be insufficient to develop the necessary reading or digital competence”, the digital competence of people, especially who are termed as the “generation z”, comes little from schooling or academic activities. It is quite true that, from our daily observation and also from the minor findings of this study, multi-channel use of digital devices constitutes the major part of people’s learning experience – learning by doing. There is not significant discrepancy between different generations in terms of learning process.
As pointed by the article authors, there is a great need to further examine other factors such as teachers’ technological and pedagogic competence. Perhaps, more facets are worthy of further examination: parenting, peer groups, and the process-dimension that shows how teenagers gradually adopt certain digital use habits.
Amiama-Espaillat, C. & Mayor-Ruiz, C. (2017). Digital Reading and Reading Competence – The influence in the Z Generation from the Dominican Republic [Lectura digital en la competencia lectora: La influencia en la Generación Z de la República Dominicana]. Comunicar, 52, 105-114. https://doi.org/10.3916/C52-2017-10
Link to the article: https://www.grupocomunicar.com/indice-en/articulo.php?numero=52-2017-10