This week we brought you the story of how the first ever “TBI” online learning course, “Islands”, was in fact copyrighted to Pearson-Longman, the respected British publisher who is also the owner of Wall Street English. We also revealed that TBI, with typical duplicity, has been claiming in their “Islands” blurb that they “have been developing innovative new online programs”, deliberately giving the misleading impression that they had anything to do with the development of “Islands”. As we showed, they even went so far as to call “Islands” a “TBI program”. Let’s be clear here: they don’t own the program; Pearson does. TBI literally did nothing more than buy it “off the shelf” and then start misleading people it was their program. This has once again demonstrated their bottom-of-the-barrel business ethics. But before moving on to other dodgy claims of theirs, let’s just look at the term “digital natives”, and ask how it ended up in TBI’s “Islands” promo literature.
Luke, Lilies and “Digital Natives”
When I showed a former manager of TBI the “Islands” blurb, he was struck by their use of the term “digital natives”. He said, “There’s no way Luke Preece wrote that. He never used words like “digital native”. He was completely ignorant about IT. Emails were about as fancy as he got tech-wise.”
So I asked about Lilies, Luke’s self-professed mistress, who he had promoted to the Head of Marketing. Facetiously, I asked him he thought Lilies could have written the course blurb with the term “digital natives”.
“That’s a good one,” he laughed, “Have you seen how that woman writes English?”
I knew he was right. I had once read through 200 of this woman’s tweets. She could rarely get through a tweet without a grammar mistake and a couple of spelling mistakes. How was she going to write a 300-word blurb for a website?
So if the term “digital natives” wasn’t from either Lukey or Lilies, where had this fashionable term come from? Suspecting it too had been lifted from Pearson, we Googled “Islands and Pearson”, and we learned that our hunch was right. References to “digital natives” had been taken from Pearson too. Well, it makes sense, right? If you are going to issue bald-faced lies that you “had been developing and working on” the programme, why not steal a few choice phrases from their promotional literature too?
Why They Pinched “Digital Natives” but Not “Interactive Whiteboards”
Here is the first sentence from Pearson, and it is interesting to consider why TBI only pinched the phrase “digital natives”. Why not borrow even more? The answer is revealing. Here is the full sentence about education in 2014:
In classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboards, computers with internet connection and living with pupils who are digital natives, it is time to develop learning strategies that take account of these technologies!
The full sentence mentions a lot more than just “digital natives”. According to Pearson, the 2014 classroom is also a world of interactive whiteboards, computers with internet connections and lesson plans that incorporate this technology. Well, TBI schools still don’t have Smart-boards and they don’t have internet connections in their rooms. Not even at their best schools. They literally use old whiteboards with markers. So the reason they have cherry-picked this one phrase is because the whole sentence actually reveals how old-fashioned and dated their classrooms are. They are falling behind the competition on multiple fronts.