Digital Natives: The Great Debate

So do you consider the concept of digital natives and digital immigrants relevant to the work that you do?

The 8th and 9th April at the Plymouth e-Learning Conference there will be a (great) debate on digital natives.

This forum will explore methods for categorising learners approach to online platforms and how this can influence edtech/pedagogic strategies. It will focus on Marc Prensky’s famous ‘Digital Native & Digital Immigrants’ trope and the more recent ‘Visitors & Residents’ idea proposed by David White.

Questions the forum will consider:

  • Which of these systems is a more effective guide when attempting to provide appropriate technologies in configurations which encourage participation?
  • Is it possible to see ‘generational’ or age based trends in approaches to the web or is this an over simplification?
  • Does categorising learners along these lines act as a useful guide for edtechs/learning techs or are they just conceptual toys?

The two systems will be promoted by members of the panel after which the discussion will be opened to the audience.

The forum panel will be Tara Alexander (Lecturer, Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth), David White (Manager/Researcher, University of Oxford) and Steve Wheeler (Senior Lecturer in Education and Information Technology, University of Plymouth).

I have the task of chairing this session. There are some great speakers and the topic is controversial, people have many varied views on it. Should be both fun and stimulating.

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3 Responses to Digital Natives: The Great Debate

  1. Willem says:

    I’ve always refused to call myself a digital immigrant since I started computing in 1980 with a Sinclair ZX81.
    After that came Commodore64, MSdos and so on..
    So the digital natives should know more (about IT) because they were born later? Nonsense!
    So since everyone speaks about digital natives and digital immigrants I call myself a digital parent!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Digital immigrants, are you joking. There are students in FE Colleges who have minimal experiences of using libraries. Would it be useful to call them book aliens?

  3. To A Nonymous – trouble is, these people aren’t joking – they serious believe (like Marc Prensky) that there is a breed of younger people called ‘digital natives’, and that just because I was born before the age of digital technology, that I am a ‘digital immigrant’. I know, it’s rediculous. And I aim to take that stance during the (great) debate next week. Hope it’s streamed…. you can join in and shout along with me.

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