Martinez, S., & Prensky, M. (2011). Learning and leading with technology. Is the Digital Native a Myth?, 39(3), 6.
I found a very interesting article in the 2011 issue of Learning and Leading with Technology. It was set up like a debate between two professional educators and discussed whether or not the term "Digital Native" or "Digital Immigrant" is considered a myth. I have always believed in the term "Digital Native" because I am from the generation that grew up within technology. As I read through the argument by Sylvia Martinez that these terms are myths, I started to reconsider my thoughts on the terms. Sylvia argued that yes it is true that these younger generations are growing up in the world of technology, but calling them digital natives is a cop- out to not have to actually teach these children anything about technology. Just because they grow up in the world of technology does not mean they necessarily know how to use every aspect of the digital world in benefit for their learning experience. It is still up to us as educators to help students and teach them new and evolving ways of the digital world. I can definitely agree with this point because ever since I entered into Professor Heil's Ed 422 class on technology and education, I was amazed and saddened at how many web based resources there were available to students and that I did not discover them sooner in my years of schooling! How much easier it all would have been.
As I read through Marc Prensky's argument that the digital native is not a myth, I started understanding and agreeing with him as well. He states that the term "Digital Native" does not necessarily have to mean that you are supposed to have knowledge of everything. He describes it as a metaphor of a cultural experience. Being a digital native just means that children are more comfortable with digital technology and tend to learn quicker when they use different digital tools.
As educators, how do we bridge the gap between digital natives and immigrants?
I think that as educators we need to constantly be on top of the digital world. We need to go the extra mile for our students and understand that our times are emerging and children have various needs that have to be met.
How do we achieve this bridging of the gap?
Developing the PLN is an excellent way to be on top of the educational world. Joining online communities such as Classroom 2.0 or Twitter can connect you with people from across the world and bring you up to date quicker than one can imagine.