Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

January 6, 2010

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser

Email: chad.gesser@kctcs.edu

Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant? Nick Skytland, a rocket scientist with NASA, shares his “Digital Natives” presentation on Slideshare, embedded below.

Do those students brought up with technology as part of their educational experience have an advantage in the 21st century learning environment?  What about in the workplace?

If you are reading this blog post, you obviously “inhabit” some portion of the digital environment.  I for one would likely be considered a digital immigrant: meaning, I had to learn the tools of technology to fit in to the digital culture.  For many younger students though, the internet, email, YouTube, Facebook, amongst many other information technologies are just part of their everyday lifestyle.

Do you think the social change brought about by information technology is a good or a bad thing?  Why?  Do you feel your information technology skills are sufficient for being successful in the global society?


  1. I come at this from a mixed perspective. I’m not QUITE a digital native (I started using computers at the age of 9 and didn’t have Internet access until 1995) but I am a highly connected individual, and my primary area of research is the Internet, particularly social media.

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t view the changes brought about by this new type of technology as any different than the changes brought about by other technological developments. If you look at the literature on the telephone (James Katz’s Connections is a good place to start), for example, many of the concerns that have been expressed about the Internet were also expressed about the phone. Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet does an excellent job of showing similar parallels between the telegraph and the Internet.

    Technological literacy is obviously important (to varying degrees) for success in society / the workplace. But I think it’s a mistake to treat ICTs as somehow different than any other technological change that has come down the pipe over the course of human history.

  2. […] Interaction and Technology February 4, 2010 I authored a blog post in early January entitled Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.  That post addressed the influence of technology on the current generation, using terms to […]

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