Natives, Immigrants, Visitors and Residents
Prensky (2001) explains that the way students now learn has changed “radically” because of time exposed to Internet and ubiquitous technologies. “Digital Natives” are “native speakers of digital [languages]”. Digital Immigrants are the opposite – technologies seem new and they “have very little appreciation of [digital] skills”. Prensky says that because Digital Immigrants didn’t learn with technology, they will always have their offline “accent”.
YouTube video by TU Office of Academic Innovation that graphically explains this:
I agree that Digital Natives have advantages over Digital Natives in certain cases, especially when learning or training new skills. Gane & Beer (2008) explains how 12 & 13 year olds were better at performing key hole surgery than actual surgeons, in a simulation test, because they new the quirks of the equipment and had the skills.
Since 2008 however, the narrative of Natives and Immigrants has been questioned and flagged as too simplistic to understand this phenomenon. Firstly, this Economist article comments on Sue Bennet’s journal article applying caution to the narrative, who says there’s “as much variation within the digital native generation as between the generations”, showing it’s not as clear cut as offline and online. A viewed shared by White and Le Cornu (2011) who introduce ‘residents’, who spend a lot of their time on the web and ‘visitors’, that use the web as a tool when needed, all with varying degrees of proficiency.
I think my self-test does show that I am a Digital Native, but relatively failing in creating/joining a community online that’s based around something I’m interested in. On the outset that seems strange to me, as I spend a lot of my time on social media, but analyzing my ‘feed’, none of it is what I’m super interested in.
- Gane, N. and Beer, D. (2008) New Media London, Bloomsbury. Chapter 6 ‘Simulation’.
- Prensky, M., 2001. Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. [Online] On the Horizon, (9)5.
- WHITE, David S.; LE CORNU, Alison. Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, [S.l.], aug. 2011. ISSN 13960466. Available at: <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049>. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171.
- Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWp7RDUn0WA
- Self-test image made using Mockdrop.io
- Featured image: (web ‘Home’ menu link on blue background), produced by me.
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