Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

In recent discussions of youth also known as “digital natives” and adults or “digital immigrants” in regards of technology and the knowledge each group possesses, a controversial issue has been whether “digital natives” have more knowledge than adults or “digital immigrants” when it comes to the technological advances and whether or not the “digital immigrants” should begin to use technology in their lesson plans so that the youth have a better understanding of the material. On the one hand, some argue that the “digital immigrants” should not have to change or modify their lesson plans to meet the needs of the youth or “digital natives” because they should be able to learn without having to use technology methods. Since some of the adults specifically the teachers, may have little or no knowledge of many technological advances. From this perspective, there have been arguments for and against technology and whether or not the “digital natives” have a better understanding of technology since they grew up being surrounded by it and because many of the youth spend a good portion of their time on social media or on the internet in general. On the other hand, however, others argue that the “digital immigrants” or the adults should modify their plans because times have changed and now in society technology has become a great part of it. Plus the “digital immigrants” should be willing to learn about the new technological advances and not just expect their students to learn in any other way. According to this view, people are changing the way in which both “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” are seen. In sum then, the issue is whether “digital natives” are more knowledgeable than the “digital immigrants” or if the “digital immigrants” should change the way the teach their students.

My own view is that even though the youth have grown up in a society in which technology has had such a big influence, that they should not be thought as that they are very knowledgeable about technology because in some cases the youth might be but in other cases they might not. Though I concede that the adults or “digital immigrants” grew up in a time where technology was not as prominent, they should not believe that only because the majority of the students are on social media or the internet that they are very knowledgeable about the different technology advances, I still maintain that “digital natives” do know a bit more about technology than the “digital immigrants” but the “digital immigrants” are not that far behind in learning and knowing about technology as well. For example, some students or “digital natives” do not know how to distinguish a reliable source because the adults have not taught them the difference between a reliable source and a non-reliable source and also because adults have told their students that Wikipedia is not a reliable source but without giving any reasoning why that is. The youth/students or “digital natives” are knowledgeable about technology but only in certain areas, not in every area. Although some might object that the “digital natives” know more than the “digital immigrants”, I would reply that it just depends on the opinion, views and personal experiences of every person. The issue is important because we learn about the “digital natives” and the “digital immigrants” and if in reality the youth are more knowledgeable than the adults or “digital immigrants”.


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