Digital Natives; do they exist?

In recent discussions of technology in the classroom, a controversial issue has been whether students born in the 21st century are digital natives compared to people born outside the 21st century. On the one hand, some argue that students who were born in the 21st century are naturally capable of understanding technology compared to the previous generation. From this perspective, it is seen that children of the most recent generation are able to use technology and incorporate technology throughout their day to day life with ease. Whereas the older generations struggle to comprehend and use technology are known as digital immigrants. People who support this idea, argue that the reason why this generation is capable of using technology so effectively is because they are digital natives, meaning that it is encoded in their brain as if they were natural instincts. On the other hand, some argue that the reason people of this newest generation are capable of understanding and using technology is because they were raised along side it. According to this view, children are introduced to technology from the very beginning of their lives and this explains their extensive knowledge of technology. In the end, the issue at hand is how we explain the fact that students from the latest generation are able to understand technology to an extent that other past generations haven’t been able to.

My own view is that students of this current generation are not digital natives, but instead just grew up surrounded by technology. For example, most children have technology at home such as iPads, cellphones, and tvs. Even in the class room technology has been incorporated in multiple ways to use as tools. Children of this generation are in contact with technology sooner in their lives and have learned how to use them as if it were second nature.

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One thought on “Digital Natives; do they exist?

  1. wenzelm says:

    I would suggest digging a little more closely into the Prensky article to see how he defines “digital natives.” I don’t think he is suggesting they are always able to use technology with ease, but rather have a different relationship to tech than previous generations. For example, how does the easy, ubiquitous access to wireless internet access influence how we understand the world?

    That said, I do appreciate your use of the They Say/I Say template to guide your posts. When you add hyperlinks to this post, it creates a well organized blogging style. Continue to think of and add hyperlinks to supporting evidence and resources you can use.

    Like

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