Digital Natives & Digital Immigrants: A New Teaching & Learning Paradigm
Ingah M. Davis-Crawford
Digital Natives (i.e., the current generation of students (born 1979-1994; Sweeney, 2005) who are “native speakers” (Prensky, 2001a, p.1) of the digital language common to computers, videogames and the Internet) are not predisposed to learn by way of traditional presentational teaching methods as did previous generations. These young people, according to Prensky (2001a, 2001a, 2004, 2007a, 2007b), are hard-wired to learn using the digital technologies that have been ubiquitous for many from the very beginning of their lives.
In fact, Prensky (2001a) states that today’s generation of students (i.e., digital natives) have advanced significantly beyond the previous generation, so much so that the author contends that a huge “discontinuity” or “singularity” (Prensky, 2001a, p.1) has taken place as a result of the explosion and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the final decades of the twentieth century. Prensky (2001a, 2001b) goes on to stipulate that today’s students (K through college) have spent their lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital CD/mp3 players, cell phones and a variety of other implements of the digital age, have spent less than 5,000 hours reading in their entire lives; on the other hand, and they have spent over 10,000 hours playing videogames and 20,000 hours watching television (Prensky, 2001a, 2001b). It is not, therefore, an exaggeration to state that digital technologies are a central part of their lives.