In the essay “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, writer Marc Prensky describes the generational-gap in digital exposure and explains why Millennials and beyond (includes people 34 and under) have a hard time learning in the current school system. Prensky classifies Millennials as “digital natives”, meaning that there was a significant digital presence in their lives throughout the formative years of their youth. This digital presence has not only made Millennials more accustomed to interacting (or shall I say ‘interfacing’) with digital devices and digital media, but Prensky says that it has changed the way that Millennials learn from the ways that the previous generation learns. This previous generation, those who did not grow up with a digital presence in their lives, rather adopted them into their adult practices when they came out (Prensky labels them “digital immigrants”), have a slower, less immersive, and a more step-by-step way of learning, whereas digital natives are good at quicker, less dense, and more sporadic methods of learning, since that is part of the nature of digital media today. He sees this difference in learning as a serious concern, since most classes are taught by digital immigrants, and his preferred solution to this digital divide is to encourage those teaching digital natives to think creatively and adopt ways of teaching that resonates more with the Millennials.
– An article with statistics detailing how ‘plugged in’ Millennials are.
– a GIF depicting an older woman trying to figure out digital technology.
– Charts on Millenials opinions of digital media
- Why is it so difficult for digital immigrants to devise ways to teach that digital natives resonate with?
- Given the speed at which technology has advanced in the past couple generations, is it likely that the generation after the Millennials will adopt a new, different way of learning?