I overheard someone using this terminology in the staffroom the other day and I had to laugh that people still refer to it…..yes, perhaps you are born to a particular era but that doesn’t mean you are stereotypically more likely or less likely to use technology successfully. I think we need to remember that Prensky decided to write about these stereotypes in 2001 and I think many people, whether regarded as native or immigrant, have been required to use more and more technology within their day to day lives. Individuals within these ‘eras’ come from a range of cultural, geographical and social backgrounds which can effect the accuracy of the stereotype dramatically. By viewing our students as ‘Digital Natives’ we forget that they are individuals and in terms of learning, their skills may differ widely. Bennett, Maton & Kervin (2008) write that even though there is some research that points to a high proportion of technologically adept young people, there is also a significant proportion of this so called ‘digital native’ generation who do not have the high levels of access or skills in technology (p.779).
As teachers, I think we have all seen evidence of this within the classroom. My students are great at playing Clash of Clans but still require some coaching on finding and understanding information, or even presenting information effectively using ICT tools.
Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008) The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.