Electronic Revolution……

Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants

During our first tutorial we were introduced to some techno terms, digital natives and digital immigrants. The class was asked to discuss what these terms meant and how we see ourselves. We decided digital natives are children of today as they are ‘born’ knowing all about the digital world. This may be true as they grow, however they cannot be born knowing all about the cyber world as with anything we need to be taught and that is dependent on a number of factors such as our parents knowledge and education, our culture, our socio-economic environment and where we go to school and who with.

Children termed digital natives are given this name as the world they are born into is far more technological than the world I was first-born into. They are exposed to, and have access to a number of digital devices such as computers, video games (Playstation, XBox,  Nintendo, etc), i-phones, i-pads, etc. My granddaughter at the age of 7 was given her first mobile phone with internet access. She is now 11 years old and has the latest i-phone, therefore she would be considered a digital native as she has grown up with this technology.

The class found the term digital immigrants referred to those who hadn’t been exposed to digital devices and are now having to integrate technology into their lives either to survive socially, to keep up with their children or for employment. A digital immigrant is required to learn the technology, just as a person who decides to live in a new country has to adapt to the new culture in order to assimilate. Therefore, I would say a digital immigrant in the technology sense is like learning a new culture when living in a new country. Both are unfamiliar in the beginning.

After discussing the difference between the two some in the class decided they were a combination of both. I am not sure what I would consider myself. I have mentioned I am anti-techno in a technology world, which should put me in the digital immigrant category, however if a new device is ‘born’ and I learn to use it at the same time a digital native does, what category do I fall into?

I found a video that explains the concept in easy to understand terms. Please take the time to view it.   


So how will this affect my future teaching? It depends on where I will be teaching and the students themselves. Some children may have been exposed to a vast array of electronic devices, therefore making them more digital savvy than myself so maybe they could help with the teaching? A form of collaborative learning between students and teacher? To keep ahead of the children teachers will require constant training in this area as it is changing and evolving at a rapid rate.

When analysing it down to this degree it can be quite confusing????? Was less confusing before all this techno stuff came along!

Another VERY interesting video for pre-service teachers! It is scary!

Further information regarding a digital native and digital immigrant can be found by visiting pages by Marc Prensky, an internationally acclaimed thought leader, speaker, writer, consultant, and game designer in the critical areas of education and learning.


Yet another term we were introduced to in our first week of the unit. E-learning, what does that mean? Well without looking up the term I would define it as learning through electronic means. Breaking it down further it could mean the teaching and learning of Web technologies incorporating the use of a variety of web, mobile and personal computer-based tools.

Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

So many terms! I said technology is complicated and confusing!

Anyway we discussed the difference between these two. Basically Web 1.0 is the accessing of information. Similar to before the World Wide Web where we used books (you know those things with pages filled with print information) we now conduct our research through the World Wide Web using the internet, a worldwide connection of many thousands of computer networks. I guess the analogy of an internet using Web 1.0 is a library filled with books.

As the internet evolved Web 2.0 was developed, making the internet a more interactive space. This new innovation allows users to have interaction with others on-line through social networking such as Blogs, Wikis, YouTube, social software and sites such as Facebook , etc. Social networks are both a platform on which innovative technologies have been built and a place where users are treated like first class citizens.

Therefore, it could be said that Web 1.0 is for consumers of content and Web 2.0 is for participating with the content.

Some more videos I found to help you understand the difference between the two platforms.

How can we as teachers use E-learning/Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in our classrooms?  Although I am an anti-technology person I feel these tools, if used responsibly can be of benefit to our students. Firstly, children need to become technology literate if they are to succeed in the developed world. E-learning classes need to be incorporated within the Curriculum  as a necessity and not an option. Children who do not have access to all the latest electronic tools at home will benefit from this innovative pedagogical approach.

Although Web 2.0 has evolved Web 1.0 is still relevant in the classroom as a means of accessing information not available through traditional resources. As technology has become more affordable children in educational environments that do not have large libraries, the use of  the internet will allow them access to information they may not have had otherwise. This would apply to children in remote areas where access to traditional methods of obtaining information may be limited.

Alternatively Web 2.0 in education is an excellent learning tool. Children are able to set up classroom blogs and websites. To ensure privacy these sites can be set to allow access only by their teacher, their peers and their parents. Web 2.0 can create a global environment where the children can communicate to other children all over the world.  Forums on the subjects they are studying can be set up in order to collaborate with children from other schools. Using Web 2.0 in this way is a form of social constructivism, as researched and documented by Lev Vygotsky.

I found an excellent peer-reviewed paper by Paul Anderson on the implication of these platforms on education. Please click here.



  1. 1000ships Said:

    Wow Cindy!

    I have just been surfing your blog. And it is thought provoking and fantastic.

    You have managed to scare the ….. out of me. Mark was achieving that in his own quiet way and you just put some super juice into the equation! Well done. I return to my rather flippant remark I made at the beginning of this unit.
    “As a mature student if I had done this unit in the first semester I would have walked away from the whole thing.” Yep it is going to take a very special school to hook me in.

    You have not allowed me to comment on your introduction which I regard as very courageous. It reflects you strength. You are right I have taken a very impersonal approach to my blog but It is as Mark says we get a little less uptight as we progress through the learning process.

    I admire your strong stance and attitude. Like you I feel I am being dragged into a place kicking and screaming. It really is not on my terms.

    This particular blog is great I watch all three embeds. The little boy in “Are you going to be my teacher?” should not talk through clenched teeth, but we still understood him because of technology!

    Amazing how blond curls and big eyes seem to be so innocent? Our classrooms will not have such innocence in them any more as I feel the world of modern technology has grown up our children so quickly. I know that childhood is a modern construct but it would have been nice to let it run for a few more decades or until my grandchildren are teenagers!!

    I feel though that our younger colleagues with us on this course are not so fazed about this and perhaps their childhoods were really quite short and they do not regard it as sad! Perhaps they think I am just a sentimental old harpie?

    Anyhow you have achieved a remarkable thing by making me put some personal thoughts on your blog.

    from Δρομολογήθηκε

    • Purple Alien Said:

      Wow Helena what a reply, thanks for the support of my blog, has taken me ages. You know how I spent my Easter……….

      You mentioned you can’t comment on my introduction. I didn’t know it was like that. I have gone back into my blog to try and change that setting,however I am unable to find how to do that. I changed from Blogger to WordPress and found WordPress far more challenging to use and navigate and some of the settings took me days to work out!

      I may have to go back to the WordPress forum to ask how to change the settings on the introduction page to allow comments. Maybe it is a default setting for a introduction page and can’t be changed. I will investigate………………………..

  2. Purple Alien Said:

    I found out why you couldn’t comment on my introduction and fixed it so now I will receive comments!

  3. Purple Alien Said:

    Just another comment on yours. You said 3 embeds? There are 4,the last two are on top of each other and I couldn’t work out how to have a space between them, tried for ages? Mark maybe you know and can help me or back to the WordPress forum?

  4. Lamington Said:

    You’ve shared some very interesting thoughts in your post. This one most of all really made me stop and think:

    “I have mentioned I am anti-techno in a technology world, which should put me in the digital immigrant category, however if a new device is ‘born’ and I learn it to use it at the same time a digital native does, what category do we fall into?”

    Certainly being born surrounded by modern technology is going to give someone an advantage at learning to use that technology. In the case of new things as they come out however, it should give a much more even footing. The digital native and immigrant categories don’t account for this at all. Maybe if you were to learn a new technology you could consider yourself as having successfully migrated?

    • Purple Alien Said:

      Yes Tilly I can see the logic in your response to my question.

      Interesting answer, however whether we are a digital native, immigrant or successfully migrated we all have problems with learning new technologies at some stage. I am having major issues with some at the moment and have lost days of my life trying to work them out! The digital world is soooooooooooooo frustrating and time consuming!

      • Lamington Said:

        Yes, the digital world can very easily chew through your spare time (both when things are working properly or while you’re trying to fix them)!

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