Tuesday, July 28, 2009

To Young to be an Immigrant?

After reading Prensky's article about Digital Natives and Immigrants, I feel that the two categories have been grossly over generalised. I am 20 years old, which automatically makes me a 'digital native'. However, I found myself not being able to identify with many of the characteristics described. Don't get me wrong, my family purchased its first computer when I was about 5 years old so it was not a 'new' thing when we started using them at school. Unlike my 3 siblings, I just find that I have had little interest in technology and intereacting with technologies other than out of necessity - researching for assignments, correspondence etc. rather than downloading music, searching YouTube, creating numerous accounts, playing games etc. as many my age tend to do.
I am continuously discovering that supposed Digital Immigrants have alot more knowledge and skills than I, and I seem to be the one with the 'accent'. One of my peers at Uni, who has just turned 40, can answer nearly any ICT question I have and continues to astound me with her knowledge and comfort in the use if ICTs - and she hasn't been working with them out of necessitiy as she has been a Nurse for the last 20 years!

I would like to pose this question - 'Are all our students going to be Digital Natives?'
I feel that in a sense they will be, in that, like myself, they have grown up surrounded by technologies and ever increasing updates in technologies. They will know about them, possibly know how they work and what they do, but will they be interested? Will they want to use them?

The future of education will no doubt be very dependent on ITCs for engagement and delivery. We as educators, like with all Curriculum areas, need to try and stay 'one step ahead', so I know that I will have to come to terms with my own attitudes about technology. I just really feel that it shouldn't be the only way of 'reaching' our children. I guess it all comes back to knowing our learners and how they best learn. That will be the most important part of creating successful learning as we embark on technology-rich curriculum in a technology-rich world.

Never forget your learners are individuals - and never assume!

Prensky, M. (2001). 'Digital Natives and Immigrants.' On the Horizon, Vol. 9 No. 5. MCB University Press.

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