Friday, March 2, 2012

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

I consider myself a digital native because I grew up using this new  technology . According to Marc Prensky ,  we have spent our  entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Unlike us  , Those who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in their  lives are digital immigrants.

 Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast and they prefer random access , graphics before their text, and games to “serious” work  . They function best when networked. But digital Immigrants are more  typically have very little appreciation for these new skills, they learned – and so choose to teach – slowly, step-by-step, one thing at a time, individually, and above all, seriously.  

Sometimes  digital immigrants tend to  print out a document written on the computer in order to edit it (rather than just editing on the screen); or bringing people physically into your office to see an interesting web site (rather than just sending them the URL). They even might call you to make sure that you received a certain email.  This is what mark called accent ,which is what digital immigrants bring back  from their foot in the past .   

Should the Digital Native students learn the old ways, or should their Digital Immigrant educators learn the new?. This is what Prensky thought is the biggest serious  problem  facing education today. In order to try to confront this issue , he thought that we need to reconsider both our methodology and our content.
First, our methodology. Todays 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
Second, our content. There are now two kinds of content: “Legacy” content (to borrow the computer term for old systems) and “Future” content.
 “Legacy” content is all of our “traditional” curriculum.  It is of course still important, but it is from a different era. Some of will continue to be important, but will become less.
“Future” content is to a large extent, not surprisingly, digital and technological. But while it includes software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology, genomics, etc. it also includes the ethics, politics, sociology, languages and other things that go with them. This “Future” content is  interesting to today's students . Marc thought it's a brilliant idea  if we let kids to be allowed to use computers only  in school .
Prensky thinks that we need to be thinking about how to teach both Legacy and Future content in the language of the Digital Natives. we have to invent, but not necessarily from scratch. Adapting materials to the language of Digital Natives has already been done successfully. His own preference for teaching Digital Natives is to invent computer games to do the job, even for the most serious content.
 So if Digital Immigrant educators really want to reach Digital Natives – i.e. all their students – they will have to change. It's high time for them to stop their grousing, and as the Nike motto of the Digital Native generation says, “Just do it!” They will succeed in the long run – and their successes will come that much sooner if their administrators support them.


  1. Good summery here. Do you think that too many images can distract reading posts? I do! You may need to remove some of them.Thanks.

  2. Oh, you might be right
    For me I like images(especially jokes ) ,it makes want to read more, but I removed some of them to make it suitable for everyone.
    Thanks for your note.