Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Marc Prensky’s Nancy Nichols KatieAmend Casey Moffett Jerrod Bain
Neuroplasticity The idea that the brain constantly reorganizes itself during our lifespan Key thoughts: The brain changes and organizes itself differently based on the inputs it receives Brain changes physically based on simulation Brain cells are replenished constantly Brain maintains its plasticity for life Prensky (2001)
Malleability mal⋅le⋅a⋅ble 1. capable of being extended or shaped by hammering or by pressure from rollers. 2. adaptable or tractable: the malleable mind of a child. • Some factors influence what thoughts are about… others influence processes. • People who grow up in different cultures do not think about different things… they think differently • Brains do not reorganize casually- they rewire with focus and detail • Digital Natives have a very different blend of cognitive skills than their predecessors Prensky(2001) www.dictionary.com
First year students’ experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? • First year students are tech-savvy, but when they have to move beyond computers, cell phones and e-mail their skill set varies • Questions Prensky’s cultural and environmental assumptions in relation to the physically changing brain • Article is skeptical of Prensky’s generalizations about students entering college with the same digital upbringing • Prensky may overlook a this mixture of technology skills and previous knowledge • If this knowledge is taken into consideration, there is more opportunity got sound teaching and learning
The Australian universities want to make sure that they enhance the learning experience of incoming students • Students are using technology in their everyday lives and transferring that to their education… • “living technologies” adapted as “learning technologies” • Blogs • Instant messaging • Texting • Social networking • RSS feeds • Downloading MP3’s
Merging Immigrants and Natives Digital Immigrants must first accept that Native learners are different and learn in a different way Immigrants must reconsider methodology and content Methodology: Immigrants must learn to “speak” the new language of Natives (faster, less step-by-step, more random access, etc.) Content: Combine “Legacy” (slow, step-by-step) and “Future” (digital and technological) content using new language Prensky (2001)
Implementing New Methodology and Content • KEY: Keep them engaged and interested • There should no longer be a question of whether to use the technology, but how to use the technology to teach the material • Use Natives as resource- let students be the guides • Invent games or other forms of “edutainment” to teach material • Remove or reduce “education” terminology • “It just depends on how it is presented” • Zoo Tycoon Prensky (2001)
Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: Some Thoughts from the Generation Gap • Supports Prensky’s idea of the existence of a cultural divide between Natives and Immigrants • Unconvinced of Prenky’s idea that the neurological structures are capable of changing so dramatically from one generation to the next • Over generalizes idea of Digital Natives • Necessary for Immigrants to learn and incorporate Internet into teaching because it is the first place Natives turn for info • But do not assume they are incapable of communicating in the way of Immigrants! • Before we abandon “legacy” content, must address important questions: • Are all Natives exposed to technology to the same extent? • What are the demographic differences?
Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: Some Thoughts from the Generation Gap, Continued • Prenksy overemphasizes the differences between two groups and de-emphasizes similarities • Disservice to Natives to de-emphasize “legacy” content (reading, writing, logical thinking, etc.) • Vast volumes of information from technology demand the ability to think critically and make use of research skills • Computer is an effective trainer, but is it an effective teacher? • Important that we maintain idea that students should learn with technology, not from it • Computer is a medium, learner and teacher are the mediators • Most important is to use engaging teaching methods that are student-centered and promote active learning, with or without technology
Gaston, J. (2006, April). Reaching and teaching the digital natives. Library Hi Tech News, 23(3), 12-13. Kennedy, G. E., Judd, T. S., Churchward, A., Gray, K. & Krause, K.-L. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/kennedy.html Lee Rainie. (2006, September). FT.com site : They are the future - and they're coming to a workplace near you. FT.com,1. Retrieved June 15, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1131072101 Prensky, M. (2001). “Digital natives, digital immigrants”. On the Horizon, October 2001, 9 (5)NCB University Press. Prensky, M. (2001). “Do they really think differently?” On the Horizon, December 2001, 9 (6)NCB University Press. Timothy VanSlyke "Digital natives, digital immigrants: some thoughts from the generation gap." The Technology Source, May/June 2003.
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