Digital Natives?


The hangout discussion at the end of last week had a number of points to make about the oppositions at work in the discourse surrounding the digital world. Prensky’s metaphor of natives v. immigrants came in for some criticism, and I think it has become clear that the metaphor does not work as well as it first appeared to. We all know of supposed ‘natives’ who have grown up in the digital world being all at sea when asked to use the technology. Equally, there are ‘immigrants’ who are very much at home and whose ‘accent’ is native!

I recently came across another, related and perhaps more helpful opposition: the digital resident and the digital visitor. Obviously, someone born into the digital age could only be a dabbler in facebook and mobile phone use etc, while someone who was born in a pre-digital era could have learned to use digital media and have become proficient.


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