Digital Natives are mainly Generation Y or those born from the 1990s-2010s. These children have grown up with constant exposure to technologies; using and learning about new technology and have become confident and competent at a very young age. They think and process information faster and in a different way in compared to other generations.
The generation of social networking and Facebook has led to young people becoming more technology savvy and occasionally having a greater knowledge and understanding than adults/teachers due to the constant interaction and hands-on experience. E.g. 1991- children born in this year have learnt about technology as it was introduced at a young age and they have grown up watching as it advances every few years, keeping constantly up-to-date with the abilities and new things technology will allow the to do.
Digital Immigrants on the other hand consists of people that were born in the “Baby Boomers” generation, around the year 1950s. This generation were born in a generation where technology had not yet been invented and grew up with a traditional approach to teaching and learning. As the years passed and technology advanced, this generation had to learn about what technology would now allow them to do, which is very complicated and thus they have little understanding. Learning about all these new concepts would be like learning a completely new language for people in this generation which is why they are known as digital immigrants.
The debate presents to completely different sides of the spectrum in relation to the use of technology and its use in the classroom. It expresses that teachers need to recognise that the students of today have different learning needs in comparison to students’ years ago.
Students today process information faster and differently in comparison to other generations resulting in the best way to help them learn is through the use of ICT and IWB. This technology is a very fun and interactive way of learning for the children and will have a dramatic impact on their academic achievement.
Digital Immigrants are very opposed to the change, assuming the student’s needs have not changed over the years and are reluctant to learn new things themselves. Unfortunately, digital immigrants that are so set in their ways and refuse to leave their comfort zone can have a negative impact on the learning of students in schools. By unintentionally revealing this attitude of refusing to acquire new skills can set a bad example for students in relation to school work and learning. By thinking that learning isn’t and shouldn’t be fun for students becomes a hindrance to their learning as they are only exposed to learning experiences that that find boring and un-motivating.
For students to learn in a more successful way, teachers that are realistically mostly digital immigrants, need to embrace the new technology and develop new ways of teaching using ICT.