“Digital native” is a term that is used to describe students of the current generation brought up in a new technological environment (Prensky, 2001). In fact, in most cases, their lives and daily activities are surrounded by the use of cell phones, computers, digital music players, video games, and video cameras. Digital native students also use other technological gadgets that form integral parts of their lives. Majority of them have spent less time reading, and more watching Television (TV) or playing video games. Exposure to a new environment has changed the way they think and grasp information; therefore, their brains have physically changed from the traditional as a result of how they have grown up.
Conversely, there are also members who did not find the digital world, but who, with time, got interested in and adopted certain technological aspects of life. These are digital immigrants. They do learn to adapt to the new technological setting but always preserve their accent (their practices in the past). Their general operations, as well as social life, , are entirely different compared to the current world; they strive to learn the new language (adaptability to the new technology). It is true that in most cases, young people especially of the digital world do spend much of their time on web-based applications and even watching TV, as a result of technology.
In fact, the social aspect of students’ communications has become much easier. People who haven’t grown in such an environment would never understand the speed at which technology through the internet has influenced a high percentage of the young people within the society. Indeed, technology has formed an integral tool to boost education within the learning institutions and when used correctly, it could bring benefits and create a social environment where everyone would participate fully. The digital immigrant teachers and educators need to take time to understand the way students use the latest technology as well as other new services that aid their daily operations.
However, students may not have the required skills to develop such tools and information on the web. Therefore, the digital immigrant educators should be given a chance to introduce the available tools and also to assist learners develop critical thinking and the literacy skills required for the learning process. The methodology of teaching to be adapted should incorporate the use of legacy content (borrow a computer term for the old system) e.g. writing, reading, and arithmetic, which are parts of the traditional curriculum. Consequently, future content that incorporates technological tools, including the use of software, hardware, and other applications best for learning the process, should also be used.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Vol. 9). MCB University Press