The article ‘Digital Native, Digital Immigrants’ by Marc Prensky and an online article ‘Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants’ by Kenneth Gillett convey the theme of digital technology. In his article, Prensky discusses about the gap in communication between the students, whom he refers to as the digital natives, and the teachers whom he refers to as the digital immigrants. On the other hand, Gillett discusses the difference in perception of the world by the digital natives (those who were born during or after the rise of digital technology) and the digital immigrants (the generation born before the rise of digital technologies). This essay aims at exploring how the authors have explored and discussed the theme of digital technology. Then compare and contrast the approaches of the authors when talking about digital technology.
The Common Theme
The two pieces of work have discussed in depth a common theme of digital technology. The authors have addressed the theme by first classifying generations into either digital natives or digital immigrants. The authors have used the term digital immigrants to refer to the older generation born before the rise of the digital era. The term digital natives in the articles refer to the generation born during the rise the digital age or after the rise of the digital era.
Digital Technology in the Articles
Prensky explores the theme of digital technology by discussing a classroom situation. Prensky notes that the students in the classroom today are much different from the teachers in terms of how they learn and how they can absorb and digest information (Prensky 1). He christens the students as the digital natives and the teacher as digital immigrants. The teachers are the digital immigrants since they are trying to adopt digital technology that was born not in existence when they were born. The students are the digital natives since they were born and exposed to digital technology from early life. He notes that digital technology is now readily available and the students need it to thrive the school setting.
There is a need for a switch in the way educators teach as students are losing when the teachers us the old fashioned methods today. Prensky gives an example of students (Digital Natives) getting bored by teachers’ (Digital Immigrants) use of texts as the mode of instruction thus the students do not read the texts thoroughly ( Prensky 4). Prensky further notes that digital immigrant teachers can be able to reach the digital natives if they add little more work and effort. He proposes that the teachers could make the classes more appealing to the digital natives by switching from a typical lecture-based lesson to a more digital native user-friendly formats where lecture notes are in soft notes and sharable over the internet.
On the other hand, Gillett’s article ‘Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants’ discusses the difficulties in communication and difference in perception of the world between the digital natives’ generation and the digital immigrants’ generation. Gillett notes that the real issue between the two generations is that each of the generations has a very different worldview from the other. For the digital natives, their view of the world is in equalitarian terms, that is; they do not divide the world into hierarchies, and everyone is equal (Gillett). He notes that the digital natives have declared themselves to be free agents and they have no respect for the traditional culture and social institutions such as marriages and religion. The only advantage of digital native’s worldview is democracy and equality in the perception of the world.
Gillett notes that digital immigrates are meritocratic and are typically aggressive, competitive, and result oriented. Their advantage is that they are more productive as they are more goals oriented. Gillett notes a paradox in that the digital immigrate the innovators and inventors of the digital technology, which the digital natives use comfortably. He notes that two generations must learn from each other and work together.
The two authors have discussed the theme of digital technology similarly just that the situations are different. Prensky explores digital technology in a classroom situation while Gillett discusses digital technology in a community-social setup. The similarity is that both authors have used easily understandable language to discuss the theme. The authors have highlighted to the audience the differences between generations that have been brought about by digital technology. From both articles it notable that the generations (the digital immigrants and the digital natives) have difficulties in communication, different perception of the world, and approach to issues. The two authors a have also proposed ways in which the two generations can integrate by the digital immigrants adding more effort to learn the digital modes of communication while the digital natives urged to tolerate the ‘old fashioned’ digital immigrants methods when need be. It is clear that digital technology has a big gap between the two generations.
In overview, the two articles have discussed digital technology from a unique perspective that highlights the importance of bridging the gap between the two generations. Although digital technology has numerous advantages, it has created a gap between the people who fully understand it and those who do not. Since the world is experiencing digital evolution, hence it would be wise for everyone to embrace digital technology or risk being the old one out.
Gillett, Kenneth. “Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants.” HuffPost. Retrieved from www.huffpost.com/entry/digital-natives-vs-digita_b_5499606 Accessed on April 24, 2019.
Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1.” On the Horizon 9.5 (2001): 1-6.