Digital Natives Debate

the topic of this blog will be about the digital native and the digital immigrant debate.

digital immigrant and digital native? does this mean that there is a new country out in cyberspace?!

well, not exactly, digital native is what Marc Prensky (2001) calls someone who was born into the digital world. This means that they grew up using electronics, computers and is able to access the world-wide web with ease. In fact, Prensky states that the way that digital natives think has physically changed and how they process information is ‘fundamentally different from their predecessors’ (p1). So Digital natives are used to the ‘right here, right now” that they like to receive information instantly and are able to multitask. They enjoy learning through hands on activities and thrive on instant rewards. For these learners, it more important for them that it is fun rather than meticulous memorization.

because of this, teachers have to adapt their style of teaching to suit their students. For many teachers who have been teaching for decades, this may be a rather hard job, as the strategies and techniques that they have learnt during their teacher training is no longer valid. For a number of these teachers, they are not able to integrate researching online or interactive online games efficiently into their teaching. Furthermore, they themselves may not have the expertise in ICT to be able to this. But Prenskly makes a valid point that because the students of today are so different, teachers needs to evolve with these changes. Below is a mind map that i made which summarises Prensky’s article:




 critical review:

  • i believe that prensky makes some valuable points in his article and through my pract, i have definitely seen that the students that have grown up using with access to computers are so much more at ease using it. They don’t really have to learn too how much how to use it, they kind of just explore and are able to figure it out themselves. They do love using images, sounds, videos to aid in their learning and they do want instant information and instant rewards. I can see it as well when talking to my mother who is a digital immigrant, she finds it so hard to multi task or find information on-line. This means that she wastes a lot of time doing tasks or finding information. By adapting to the way digital natives learn, as a teacher you can direct your class to spend more ‘on task’ time doing in depth learning.
  • i do have several criticisms about Prensky’s article. Although he has a number of valid points, not every single student who comes into your classroom would have had the wealth of experience with ICT as they may have different family cultural values or may come from a lower socio-economic background and thus are at a disadvantage if a teacher only teachers to suit digital natives. Furthermore, there can be some benefits with traditional pedagogy, such as perseverance and intrinsic motivation for learning. What is important is how the teacher teaches and an expert teacher will teach to suit the needs of his or her classroom, including teaching to suit the learning styles of digital natives and those who may have had less experience with modern technology.



Reference: Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Retrieved April 10, 2011, from


About samoberle

This is a blog about ICT in education!
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