A Journey into the Teaching Experience

A site maintained by teachers for teachers

Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants


What actually are a digital native and a digital citizen? By digital native we refer to young people who have grown up surrounded by technology, in fact, the majority of today’s children and teenagers in developed countries can be considered as digital natives. On the other hand digital immigrant refers to people, who have been born in a period of time where technology was not at its peak, and s/he does his best to adapt to this modern world. Today’s young generation speak a totally different language, and rightly, they expect to be understood by everyone.


Some teachers may find this difficult, because they fear that students know more than them when it comes to technology. This should not be the case! Most of them are still at their exploration stage, trying to figure out new technologies and experimenting on their own, and the same should these teachers do. However, it is pointless trying to make the same lesson as twenty years ago, as nowadays they know no other way, and they might easily be bored. We live in a century where in one way or another, you should be connected to the rest of the world, despite your age so adaption is important especially in class.


Natives are comfortable living in such world; they have been accustomed to such. For digital immigrants, the comfort is less; they will surely learn however, the majority will never feel as comfortable as the younger generation who lives in it. They have different way of processing information. Another difference is the sense of identity, where for natives digital communication, over Facebook, Skype and so on, is the same way as it is for digital immigrants when communication happens face to face.


“When we are young we soak up language so quickly but find it so much harder to learn a new language when we are older. The same seems to be true for technology.”– Thomas Plante.






3 comments on “Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants

  1. bernice1994
    November 23, 2013

    We cannot expect our students to engage in the lesson which is done in a traditional way when they can go home and find information on the internet. Teachers have to adapt to today’s technologies and maybe even change some of the methodologies that were used in the past but do not interest the students of today.

    It is easier for the digital immigrants to change the way they teach in order to interest the students, rather than the digital natives because they were born this way. This is because digital natives know only way. They do not know the traditional way which the digital immigrants are familiar with. Moreover, digital immigrants have to learn to adapt with the digital technology in order to be understood by the natives.

  2. thenarnianx
    November 23, 2013

    Since the current generation of students are generally all digital natives, some of their teachers are digital immigrants and this leads to some confusion as they may be cases where the students know more about a particular topic than their students. This is something that in the future will probably no longer exist as the new generation of children will all grow up as being digital natives.

  3. Pingback: Talking about Social Media | Checking Backpacks

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2013 by in challenges, education.
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