Digital Immigrants- a thing of the past? The definition of a ‘Digital Immigrant’ is those who were not born into the digital world but have adopted many aspects of the new technology. This phrase will soon be a thing of the past as more and more people are becoming technology experts. In this modern age, children are now growing up with technology surrounding them and are becoming ‘native speakers’ of the digital language of phones, iPads and computers. They are known as ‘Digital Natives’. The amount of technology used in schools is increasing, making it necessary for older teachers who have not grown up with it to learn how to use this new ‘kit’ for them to succeed in their career. Most jobs involve using some sort of technology, whether it using something simple like getting a web page up or whether they are using it for more complex jobs, such as coding. It is becoming difficult to function in this world if you do not know how to use this equipment. Digital Immigrants are now attending classes to learn how to use computers or Digital Natives are teaching them. It is important to remember that Digital Natives think and process information fundamentally differently to their predecessors so this must be considered when teaching them. These unusual terms were first introduced and popularized by education consultant Marc Prensky in his 2001 article entitled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”. The article claimed that the advancement of technology in the last decade of the 20th Century, had changed the way students learn and process information.
Prensky argued that this was making it difficult for students to excel academically while using these outdated teaching methods. This idea soon became popular among teachers and parents who felt their child fell within Prenskyâ€™s definition of a Digital Native. The amount of technology being used in the classroom to aid pupilsâ€™ learning is increasing dramatically. Whiteboards are being replaced by Smartboards, text books are quickly becoming out of date and laptops ae being used at every available opportunity. So, it seems only right that the teachers in these classrooms should put it to good use and integrate it into their teaching methods. Pupils can find or do anything with the click of a button. Why not take advantage of this and use it to teach them? Technology is also starting to influence how schools are run and how well they perform in the League Tables. For example, Singapore is one of the best performing countries for Education as they have so many resources, most of which are technology based.
It may be difficult for some teachers who were born before the widespread use of digital technology to start incorporating it into their lessons. But because the use of this equipment has spread across the globe so quickly, there may not be many Digital Immigrants left. Technology is being incorporated into most jobs in some form or another so it is very difficult to succeed in this current system if you have never turned on a computer before. This is forcing Digital Immigrants to learn to speak this new language if they want to accomplish their everyday tasks.
Some may argue that it’s not as simple as just picking up an iPad or laptop and being able to work out how to use it straight away. It’s not. Digital technology is very complicated, especially if you’ve never come across it before. However, there are easy ways to learn how. Big technology companies such as Apple or Microsoft hold classes for those have never come across it before. Many companies offer tutorials to their employees if they are having to adapt to the increase of digital equipment they are using. Likewise, Digital Immigrants are being taught by Digital Natives. Many people are getting lessons off members of their family who are Digital Natives on how to send an email or order something off the internet. More and more people are becoming Digital Natives and in a few years’ time, there may be no need for the use of the label Digital Immigrant and it is something that we must all embrace.