Is “Digital Native” Still Relevant Today?


The term “Digital Native” relates to the new “Internet Generation” that has shaped our world.


Digital Native describes people who have a natural inclination towards technology.

Even today students are considered “digital natives” because they have grown up with the technology and are known as the “first internet generation.” So this makes the education known as “last per-internet generation” or “digital immigrants”

Marz Prensky who came up with the term “digital natives” back in 2001 stated that:

“Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

The education expert and speaker has stated that the term “digital native” doesn’t reflect how well advanced a person is at technology.

Technology is such an important part of society and effects people in different ways so the term was invented to distinguish early adopters from those who embraced technology later in life. Another term that is widely used is “digital immigrant” and there are “psychological differences” between these two groups.

Thirteen years after “digital native” and “digital immigrant” were first used, these terms still remain relevant.

In the past decade the Internet has changed the world we’re living in. And while some may have problems adopting to the new realities, others grew up with them. This chart below shows where most of the Digital Natives live


In the late 1990s and early 2000s students were far more experienced with using technology than their teachers, and this presented a unique obstacle in the classroom.

Prensky stated “Our digital immigrant instructors who speak an outdated language are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.

At that time teachers taught with an odd accents, they dialled phone numbers, surfed the world wide web and taped movies Many students have had more progressive approaches  to technology.

In America, the White House and Congress have since taken steps to advance teachers knowledge and understanding of technology. However change has been a slow gradual process: 50% of teachers nationwide reported unsuitable training for new classroom technologies according to a study that was conducted by “digedu.” It doesn’t help that technology is continuing to evolve at a light speed pace.

Innovative new gadgets showcased at the ” South by Southwest” conference aren’t being taken advantage of the way the should be as some older generations in adopting them.

So what has to be done to fix this? Presky’s conclusion added – “If digital immigrant education really want to reach digital natives, all off their students will have to change.

However the Internet has completely transformed globalisation which went from freight and cargo plane to exchanges of ideas in less than a second. People were able to learn, speak to and experience other cultures with a single click.

New cultural norms and habits have evolved as the Internet has grown in its size and scope. The internet has transformed how new generations view themselves, culture, privacy and society as a whole.

Many say that all this digital technology began way back in the 1970s, a period when the world began to change fast. The first online bulletin board system let people with computer equipment and access to telephone lines, also read news online and send one another messages. Net groups organised topics of interest to communities of users that became popular in the 198os. The World Wide Web made its debut in 1991, with easy to use browsers widely accessible a few years later. Search engine portals and e-commerce sites hit the scene in the late 1990s. By the turn of the millennium, the first social networks and blogs cropped up online. In 2001 Digital cameras started to take off. In 2008, iTunes had become the largest music retailer in the United States. Today, most young people in many societies around the world carry mobile devices – cell phones, Sidekicks, iPhones – at all times, and these devices don’t just make phone calls, the also send text messages, surf the net and download music.