The very first thing that you may be asking yourself reading the title of this blog is what in the world is a digital native? If there is such thing as a digital native is there such thing as a digital immigrant? Well, digital natives as stated by Zevenbergen (2007) “Prensky (2005) has coined the term ‘digital natives’ to refer to the generation who has grown up with digital technologies so that they are a part of their world view. Conversely, those generations who have not grown up in these technology-rich worlds are ‘digital immigrants’ – they can learn the new technologies but considerably more effort is required than for the digital natives” (p.20).
Due to the fact that these individuals have been exposed to technology from birth, I would say that it would be best to teach them by using certain aspects of technology that they understand and comprehend to allow for them to succeed in school. Zevenbergen (2007) states that “Prensky (2005) argues that digital natives think differently from other generations due to the types of technology to which they have been exposed and the ways in which they have been exposed to these technologies. One only has to consider how the digital native is able to multitask with various tools (for example, a mobile phone, television, DVD, Nintendo and friends)” (p.21).
The fact that these individuals think differently mean that we as educators should be ready to change the ways in which we teach. Without a doubt we can see that technology is becoming more prevalent in our society. Individuals in kindergarten are learning by having access to iPads within the classroom. Take a look at this video from 2011, as it suggests that educators should incorporate social media into their teaching.
Majority of the children in schools now are currently being taught by digital immigrants, however this should not be a problem as long as they learn how to use and incorporate it within their classroom environments. I personally feel though that if individuals were taught both by a digital native and a digital immigrant one year after the other, it would benefit the student as the digital native could help and assist the digital immigrant in setting up certain aspects of the technology. For example when using an interactive whiteboard, the digital native could assist by putting the power on if the teacher did not know how. It should be that both of the individuals could learn from one another as well as having the teacher who is the digital immigrant have plenty of different methods of evaluating the students rather than doing only paper and pen evaluations. Here is an example video of using social media in the classroom.
The teacher in the video said that she created blogs for her 6 and 7 year olds and they all have access to them as they all have iPads in the classroom. There are so many benefits to allowing children to use technology in the classroom and it doesn’t matter if the teacher is a digital native or a digital immigrant as long as they support the use of technology to advance the children’s learning who are currently in their care.
Zevenbergen, R. (2007). Digital natives come to preschool: Implications for early childhood practice. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(1), 19-29.