Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky.

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky.

a.    Who are Digital Immigrant teachers and Digital Native students as categorized by the author?

Digital Native students:
What should we call these “new” students of today? Some refer to them as the N-[for Net]-gen or D-[for digital]-gen. But the most useful designation I have found for them is Digital Natives. Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

It  is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today‟s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age

Digital Immigrant teachers : So what does that make the rest of us? Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are, and always will be compared to them, Digital

b.   List down 3 differences between Digital Immigrant teachers and Digital Native students?

Digital Natives students: are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

But Digital Immigrants teachers:  typically have very little appreciation for these new skills that the Natives have acquired and perfected through years of interaction and practice. These skills are almost totally foreign to the Immigrants, who themselves learned – and so choose to teach – slowly, step-by-step, one thing at a time, individually, and above all, seriously.

c.    What is meant by Digital immigrant accent? List down three examples of “digital immigrant accents.”

The “digital immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first, or in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it.

examples of the digital immigrant accent:
They include printing out your email (or having your secretary print it out for you – an even “thicker” accent); needing to print out a document written on the computer in order to edit it (rather than just editing on the screen); and bringing people physically into your office to see an interesting web site (rather than just sending them the URL). My own favorite example is the “Did you get my email?” phone call. Those of us who are Digital Immigrants can, and should, laugh at ourselves and our “accent.”

d.   According to the author, what is the biggest serious problem facing education today?

the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language. This is obvious to the Digital Natives – school often feels pretty much as if we've brought in a population of heavily accented, unintelligible foreigners to lecture them. They often can't understand what the Immigrants are saying. What does “dial” a number mean, anyway?

e.    “Should the Digital Natives learn the old way, or should their Digital Immigrants learn the new?”

I prefer the second choice, the digital immigrants learn the new way. Because today's learners are difference. They are no longer like the teachers when they were students. Kids born into any new culture learn the new language easily, and forcefully resist using the old. Smart adult immigrants accept that they don't know about their new world and take advantage of their kids to help them learn and integrate. Not-so-smart (or not-so-flexible) immigrants spend most of their time grousing about how good things were in the “old country.” There should be some improvement. First, our methodology. Today's teachers have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students. Second, our content. It seems to me that after the digital “singularity” there are now two kinds of content: “Legacy” content (to borrow the computer term for old systems) and “Future” content.
Legacy” content includes reading, writing, arithmetic, logical thinking, understanding the writings and ideas of the past, etc – all of our “traditional” curriculum. It is of course still important, but it is from a different era.
“Future” content is to a large extent, not surprisingly, digital and technological. But while it includes software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology, genomics, etc. it also includes the ethics, politics, sociology, languages and other things that go with them. This “Future” content is extremely interesting to today‟s students.

f.     What should the Digital Immigrant educators really want to reach Digital Natives?

So we have to invent, but not necessarily from scratch. Adapting materials to the language of Digital Natives has already been done successfully. 

for example ,In math, the debate must no longer be about whether to use calculators and computers . they are a part of the Digital Natives. world . but rather how to use them to instill the things that are useful to have internalized, from key skills and concepts to the multiplication tables. We should be focusing on ¡°future math¡± . approximation, statistics, binary thinking.

Another example, In geography – which is all but ignored these days – there is no reason that a generation that can memorize over 100 Pokémon characters with all their characteristics, history and evolution can‟t learn the names, populations, capitals and relationships of all the 101 nations in the world. It just depends on how it is presented.

We need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels, using our students to guide us. The process has already begun – I know college professors inventing games for teaching subjects ranging from math to engineering to the Spanish Inquisition. We need to find ways of publicizing and spreading their successes.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Ghadeer, for providing answers to the question, however, it would have been better to paraphrase using your own words. You need to remove the spaces between the paragraphs.
    Thanks again.