wasting bandwidth since 1999

An EdTech Sliding Scale

Just about anyone who works with edtech knows about the concept of digital natives/digital immigrants (link to pdf).

Marc Prensky‘s classic definition of the different ways kids and adults relate to using technology has been somewhat overused (and certainly misinterpreted) in the five years since he first published it.

Jeff offers his interpretation of the idea in the Techlearning blog by looking at the different levels he sees within the immigrants.

This ain’t Kansas: These immigrants gets off the plane and start finding ways to compare their new home to their “homeland”.

This ain’t the way I was taught Technology Immigrant: These people view technology as the evil step-sister.

You put your Left Foot in: They have one foot in the new world and one foot in the old. They are willing to try new things, but can’t give up the old ways and old habits and truly become native to their new land.

The Left Footed Technology Immigrant: These immigrants know they need to be using technology in their classrooms, but just can’t seem to take the first step to actually do it.

The Wanna be: These immigrants get off the plane with a smile on their face, happy to be some place new and willing to try anything.

The Wanna be Technology Immigrant Native*: These immigrants take one look at technology and say “I want to do that.”

This explanation of the different levels of adult technology integration makes as much sense as any I’ve seen. And if I had to choose a place for myself I suppose it would be in the last category.

However, I’ve never been particularly fond of being referred to as a digital immigrant in the first place. I consider myself a native.

I’m fluent with all this stuff. I’ve grown up with technology as long as any of the students in our high schools.

At least to the extent you would consider me grown up. :-)

Now, what are the different levels of digital natives?

*Update: In the comments Cheri points out that Jeff’s last level makes a whole lot more sense if immigrant is changed to native. She’s right, it certainly does.

digital native, digital immigrant

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1 Comment

  1. Shouldn’t the last category be “The Wanna Be Technology Native”? I am an immigrant and I don’t want to stay that way. I see the seamlessness with which the natives use the technology and “I want to do that.”

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