Digital Immigrant vs Digital Native

Where I think these terms are being superseded or not, the terms ‘Digital Immigrant’, ‘Digital Native’ – or even ‘Digital Alien’ for those who refuse to engage – continues to be used. I’m currently checking out Kenneth Fee’s  “Delivering E-Learning“, and was interested to see how he identified some small differences  (p3):

Digital Immigrant

  • Looks for phone number in a directory
  • Prints off e-mails
  • Writes a letter
  • Makes a note of URLS

Digital Native

  • Looks for a phone number on the web
  • Subscribes to online magazines
  • Sends an e-mail
  • Saves URLs to his/her favourites.

I always find this interesting, as what is it that differentiates people – at the end of the day we’re still human, but the tools we’re familiar with DO change the way we behave (just think how many times we say “what did we do before mobile phones”… probably turn up on time & in the place originally planned… but how dull is that?!)

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Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture  in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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