Friday, October 26, 2007

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

In the Fall 2007 publication of OnCUE, David Thornburg published an article titled The Myth of the Digital Native. He took issue with the notion of digital natives vs. digital immigrants. He says, "I've since come to find that the distinction is deeply flawed. This brief article is, therefore, my apology for having been suckered into a presumed cultural difference that could be expressed as a sound bite. I was wrong."

Prensky's 2001 book, Digital Game-Based Learning (2001, McGraw-Hill), helped popularize the idea that the gap between the digital knowledge of today's students and those 30 years of age and older, could be termed Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants. To relegate this insight to the category of a "sound bite" does a disservice to both Prensky and the concept portrayed by this phrase. Thornburg takes the view that this concept of digital natives vs. digital immigrants somehow places students on a pedestal of thinking that they are, somehow, better equipped to understand technology than those of us 30 years of age and older. At its best, the concept helps us to understand why learning and adapting to technologies seems to come more easily to the younger generation, just as learning a new language is much easier when a person is young. Like the accent many adults learners maintain when speaking a second language, those of us not born in the digital age have adapted to the new technologies, but we still have an "accent" compared to today's students. It's interesting that OnCUE published this article just one month before CUE will help to host the CLMS/CLHS/NHSA & CUE Technology Conference in Monterey, CA (November 30-Necember 2), where Marc Prensky will be one of the featured speakers. Maybe I'll get to ask him about it at the conference.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


How safe are students on the internet? I attended a CyberCitizen Summit conference at Yahoo on Friday, Oct. 19 and heard speakers such as Dave Warlick and Nancy Willard address this issue. Here's a quick news clip from the conference.
For more information on CyberCitizenship check out CTAP4's website . It has links to games and great videos for students informing them about cybersafety. Another source, especially for parents, is Nancy Willard's site. Union Middle School's Media Librarian, Janette Adams, was also interviewed after the Yahoo conference on CyberSafety. You can see her video clip at this link.
This link also has a great article regarding CyberSafety.