I think it’s just about time to retire the whole digital native/digital immigrant analogy.
As much as I appreciate Marc Pretsky’s concept of students as digital natives and the rest of us as digital immigrants, lately I’ve been thinking it’s become an impediment to the discussion of how to use technology for teaching and learning.
For example, I’ve noticed that too many people who are supposed to be instructional leaders seem to be trying to use the concept as a crutch, as an excuse for why they can’t understand a specific piece of technology (or don’t want to try).
Pick a topic – blogging, ipods, cell phones, even Google Earth – and I’ve heard/read someone recently declaring themselves to be an “immigrant” and implying the topic was beyond their capabilities.
Now, I don’t expect the person directing the high school curriculum to start a blog (it would be nice!) but would it be so hard to read a few before professing ignorance and suggesting they be banned?
The superintendent may not want to hitch their life to an iPod like some of us have. But they certainly should try to understand why so many students are attracted to the devices.
However, they do need to realize there are some fundamental technologies currently forcing big changes in how information is managed and used, changes that should also be driving major changes to teaching and learning.
It’s time for all educators to stop invoking the digital immigrant tag to write off their lack of understanding.