Sunday, June 5, 2011

Talking Points #3 Prensky "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants": Argument

           In" Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" by Prensky we read about how students today have changed. Due to these students’ technological diet traditional education is not effective. He refers to them as, “the N (for Net)-gen or D- (for digital) - gen” (Prensky 1). His argument is that there is a misunderstanding between the “digital immigrant” and the “digital native.”
He explains the difference between the digital generation and their parents or teachers, “the importance of the distinctions this: as digital immigrants learn-like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their "accent," that is, their foot in the past” ( 2). He is talking about the parents or educators of the tech savvy. They are not aware of all the internet speech or how to navigate as well as others who catch on quickly.
Prensky states that, the person who is not absorbed into technology has a bias against learning with it, “Digital Immigrants don’t believe their students can learn successfully while watching TV or listening to music, because they (the Immigrants) can’t.”(3). This argument is really effective because it shows there is a barricade of understanding for the some of the parents or educators. When Prensky writes, “Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been…” (3). It seems like the teachers are stuck in the past and do not see that times have changed.
He also writes that educators should try to balance both what he calls, “legacy” and “future” content, “As educators, we need to be thinking about how to teach both Legacy and Future content in the language of the Digital Natives.” (4).  “Legacy” content is traditional learning like, reading and writing and “future” content is using software or robotics. (4). While Prensky and his colleagues had a balance there was still a struggle between the understanding of “digital” and “native”, “They wanted written instructions; we wanted computer movies. They wanted the traditional pedagogical language” (5). He shows that even though they try there is still a barrier between old teaching styles and their progress in technology.  Prensky also argues that the teachers must use their students as a guide to understand technology better.


  1. I really like Prensky's point of view. I want to be a teacher one day, so I was especially interested in the article. I think the digital immigrants are stuck in their way and that if they don't see the view of the digital natives, then we're are never going to get anywhere.

  2. I also enjoyed this article. I like how you brought up the issues of legacy and future. I think this is one of the more important ideas in the article and one where educators need to realize that digital natives are learning in a variety of ways and to adapt to these new ways of learning will create better students.

  3. I agree with Prensky. I think that educators must teach students differently than the traditional way of teaching because their minds have changed over time. A new way of teaching will be more effective in making learning more fun so that kids will enjoy school.