"Well, they look like normal people. They’re the kids in our classrooms. They’re probably aged between 0 and 20. You can tell who they are by their mode of communication(s). “Got ur text” “Saw your post on Facebook.” “Hey! zat a new phone? Got any pix?” “Yeah – it’s on my blog.” “Downloaded it last night.” They were born to do YouTube, I-Tube, What’s new Tube? They aren’t quite as impressed with the new stuff as maybe two years ago. They’ve already viewed it, bought it, borrowed it or seen it on their iPhone."[extract from an education officer in Sydney, Australia - June 2009]
Marc Prensky (2001) "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" says that the arrival and rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century has ensured that today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. As a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors.
Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology are digital immigrants. However, despite adapting well to our digital environment, most digital immigrants retain an 'accent' eg they may turn to the Internet for information second rather than first, or read a manual for a program before installing it rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us how to use it!