Beware: Digital Natives can often mislead us in making incorrect assumptions

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In his article for On the Horizon back in 2001, Marc Prensky coined the terms digital native and digital immigrant. Prensky refers to our students as Digital Natives – “all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.” Digital immigrants, on the other hand, are referred to as “those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology.”

Unfortunately, too often is Prensky’s work misrepresented in claims that digital natives are more competent with technology than digital immigrants. This has profound implications when such a sweeping statement is applied in education with learning engagements that assume our young digital natives have a firm grasp on using and applying a wide range of technologies that they were born with. Explicit instruction…

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