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© 2007 -
Susan Alkire

updated 10/19/2008

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants...     ...a Comparison

"Things Aren't What They Used to Be"

If you are under 25 you are a Digital Native
If you are over 25, no matter how tech savvy you are, you are a still a Digital Immigrant
If you are over 50 and have steadfastly avoided technology, you are a Digital Dinosaur  (Click here if you qualify!)

“Schools are not dealing with the way teenagers learn. They are taught by people that grew up and finished their education before the internet era.  Lots of teachers still lack the skills to teach current teenagers in the way they are familiar with and can understand.  Loads of information is coming to them via the internet and everything they do is through the screen: the learning, the reading, downloading and listening to music, writing, designing and most importantly: communicating with the world.  And if everything teenagers do is through the screen, why then is there so little taught through the screen??? It's time for a change, it's time to blog! (or to use wiki's or whatever you prefer as long as it's screen wise)”
                                                Excerpt from
The Screen as Teenagers Umbilical Cord

  24 Hours in the Life of a Digital Native Student
- from
Read these articles   Portrait of a Digital Native - from Techlearning
  Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Pt. 1)     and       Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Pt. 2)

How are digital native learners and digital immigrant teachers different?...
...Where are you on the 21st Century continuum?

Digital Native Learners
Digital Immigrant Teachers
Prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources. Prefer slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
Prefer parallel processing and multitasking. Prefer singular processing and single or limited tasking.
Prefer processing pictures, sounds and video before text. Prefer to provide text before pictures, sounds and video.
Prefer random access to hyperlinked multimedia information. Prefer to provide information linearly, logically and sequentially.
Prefer to interact/network simultaneously with many others. Prefer students to work independently rather than network and interact.
Prefer to learn “just-in-time.” Prefer to teach “just-in-case” (it’s on the exam).
Prefer instant gratification and instant rewards. Prefer deferred gratification and deferred rewards.
Prefer learning that is relevant, instantly useful and fun. Prefer to teach to the curriculum guide and standardized tests.

Ian Jukes and Anita Dosaj, The InfoSavvy Group, February 2003

What can you do if you are a Digital Dinosaur? -
(You qualify if you are over 40 and have avoided computers until now!)

Recognize that everything was once new - 
Medievil Book Help Desk
Learn the basics -  Internet Guide for Teachers and Students
Stop making excuses and ponder these …

  1. Recognize that around 65% – 85% or more of students and parents DO HAVE ACCESS to computers, Smartphones, tablets and, therefore, the Internet and acknowledge that TECHNOLOGY IS NOT JUST A FAD.
  2. Things are changing at an ever increasing rate and will continue to do so in the lives of today's children, so you need to be a role model for LIFE-LONG LEARNING AND FLEXIBLE THINKING or you risk becoming irrelevant.
  3. Consider where you'd be today if most people in the 20th Century refused to accept the automobile and kept using horse-drawn buggies just because a car seemed unnatural and complicated?
  4. If you worked in business or industry, you would NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO REFUSE to use new programs instituted by your employer, so why should teachers think they are exempt?
  5. Would you want to go to a doctor or surgeon who refused to use new cutting-edge innovations?
  6. Don't keep bragging about your unwillingness to try new technology because YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED OVER 65 MILLION YEARS AGO TO DINOSAURS WHO COULDN'T ADAPT!
  7. Thank your lucky stars that according to modern research in neuroscience, your BRAIN DOES NOT STOP making new connections when you are six years old!
  8. Remember that you are still the teacher, and even though you may not be as adept at technology as some of your students, you are the expert in your content. You only have to learn enough tech tricks to engage your students' attention. Then they'll be motivated to learn subject content from you, and they can teach you the tech tools!
  10. You CAN LEARN to use these tools, but the longer you ignore them, the more skills and knowledge you will have to catch up with – so don’t waste any more time ignoring them – START LEARNING!   
(But, just like students, they have to want to learn!)  
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