In Learning & Leading (ISTE’s magazine) this month – Point/Counterpoint: Is the digital native a myth? featuring ME in a “debate” with Marc Prensky, the most famous source of the terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant”.
I argue that indeed, both these terms are myths, and damaging ones at that. Marc counters. But considering that neither of us actually saw the other person’s argument, the “point/counterpoint” isn’t really there. It would have been interesting to have more back and forth, but that’s the limit of print, I guess.
Here’s how I kicked it off –
Digital native and digital immigrant are catchy phrases, no doubt. The slogans capture the ease with which young people accept technology that baffles many adults. But the observation that children appear more comfortable with digital devices offers little insight into how computing can actually transform the learning process. Catchy phrases should never be confused with guiding principles for education.
If the intent behind the cliché was to inspire adults to develop new fluencies and respect the competence of young people, the result has been the opposite. These terms imply a generational divide that has resulted in educators throwing in the towel.