How Digital Natives and Digital Immigrant think

Link to Picture:

In the article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, by Marc Prensky, the main arguments or points that he makes, are that there are Digital Natives, who have grown up with modern technology and who are very familiar with it, and there are Digital Immigrants, who have been introduced to modern technology over the years and are trying to adapt to it. Prensky argues, that the educational system that the immigrants have been taught with, does not cooperate with the way the natives have been influenced by modern technology and are used to being taught. “our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language”. The Digital Immigrant teachers are not used to teaching Native students who expect fast, easy information, and who spend most of their time on technological devices. This makes it difficult for an immigrant teacher, who think their teaching methods will still work for their students today rather then their students 15 years ago, to teach Digitally Native students, it is almost like the teacher is speaking a different, confusing language. Prensky also makes the point that most of the Native youth are either watching TV, playing video games, listening to music or on social media during most of their free time, unlike the Digital Immigrants in their youth, which makes teaching even harder for Digital Immigrants. “Digital Immigrants think learning can’t (or shouldn’t) be fun. Why should they – they didn’t spend their formative  years learning with Sesame Street”. Most Digital Natives have learnt outside of school through TV or social media etc., while the Immigrants were educated in their youth mostly through school, textbooks, books etc. Therefore, the teachers believe that learning should not be fun so they encourage this through the way that they teach, and Prensky argues that these methods actually make it harder for the Natives to learn. Finally, Prensky believes that the solution to this problem is for the teachers to learn to how to teach the youth of this time period, and also to change add another type of content to teach the Natives. “Today’s teachers have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students. This doesn’t mean changing the meaning of what is important, or of good thinking skills. But it does mean going faster, less step-by step, more in parallel, with more random access, among other things”. The Immigrant teachers do not have to change the skills that the students all need to learn, but they do need to learn how to teach these skills in a way that the students will understand, or in the right “language”. Also, the content that the teachers teach must be a mix of “Future” content, like software, hardware, robotics and other technological topics, and of “Legacy” content- math, reading, writing etc. The education system used to teach Digital Immigrants, has become confusing for the Digital Natives, because of the affect that technology has had on the Natives, and while most Digital Immigrant educators think that learning should not be fun, the educators need to change their style and the content of their teaching in order to more effectively teach their Digital Native students.

Link to article:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

I completely disagree with Marc Prensky and his arguments in this article. My first disagreement is that the Digital Immigrant teachers should not be changing their content and their teaching style. Just because technology has become a factor in the Digital Native’s lives does not mean that it should alter the education system. Focusing on all of this technology all of the time could become unhealthy and will probably turn into an addiction. My second disagreement is that if the students have too much fun learning, then they will not know how to work hard which will hurt them in their future lives when they finally step into the real world. The previous generation has become very successful by learning through this method of teaching because they did not have fun while learning. Finally, my last disagreement is that the content which teachers have previously taught should not change. If the student wants to learn how to use technology then they should learn it in their own free time, because although some students will become programmers or IT specialists etc., the majority of the students will not work with any technology other than typing on a computer, using a printer, using a phone, and other technology which is easy to use.

This school does not provide support for my argument because, they have specific classes for learning and using technology. They also encourage students to use technology for their advantage. The school also requires that the students bring technology to school because they want the students to use technology. The teachers also do not provide support to my argument because while they have kept the same content and skills that the students need to learn for their subject, they have also included technology in their teachings.

My mother considers herself a Digital Immigrant because she grew up in the time where they used typewriters, and the internet had not yet been created and made popular then. She agrees that there are digital natives and Digital Immigrants and that they are not quite as used to/comfortable with modern technology compared to Digital Natives.

Some of the twelve social/ethical issues that relate to this subject are, people and machines, policies, and globalisation/ cultural diversity. People and machines is a big social/ethical issue in this case because by encouraging students to be constantly on their devices, they may not know anything else and start trusting machines more and more and in some cases, the students could become addicted. Policies also play a part in this subject because the schools will have to set rules and limits to the technology which the students will be using. Globalisation and cultural diversity also poses as a big social/ethical issue concerning this article. A main concern is losing/changing the knowledge, teaching styles, and content which the previous generations have used and this can erode some values.

I personally think that Prensky is right in his main ideas but I do not agree with some of the in-depth details which he proposes. Firstly, I agree that Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants understand and use technology very differently which makes it harder for each group to understand the other. I also agree that there must be something done about Digital Immigrants teaching Digital Natives, because it will help the Digital Natives to learn more and better, while also being exciting, fun, and appealing to the Digital Natives. I also agree with Prensky that the content must be changed in order to better teach the Digital Natives and that is by focusing more in the area of technology such as robotics, programming, nanotechnology etc. However, I do not agree with his claiming that a good way to accomplish this is by creating video games so that the students will learn the content, while having a fun time, and by doing something that is familiar to them. This could become difficult to do for some of the subjects such as literature, or the arts, it would also not prepare the students for their career if they have always been using video games to learn. However, I think that Marc Prensky brings up a very good point: that the education system needs to change, because of the influence of modern technology on the youth.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!