Digital natives: ten years after

30 Dec 2011

This article aims to examine the findings that have come out of recent research with regard to digital natives and their true nature, as well as turn a critical gaze onto the assumptions, taken as common sense knowledge, of what the characteristics of digital natives are.

This year marks ten years from the first introduction to the term “Digital Natives,” coined originally by Marc Prensky in two seminal articles that established the traits of the digital native (2001a, 2001b). Prensky is by no means the first person to try and identity a new, distinct, generation of humans, and digital natives isn‟t the only term proposed to describe them. Other common terms come from Oblinger & Oblinger (2005) and Tapscott (1997) who use the term net-generation, and Strauss & Howe (2000) use the term Millennials to describe this same generation of students.
The dates do vary from author to author, but not by much; and the characteristics attributed to this new generation blend easily from author to author because a lot of the characteristics are predicated on access and utilization of technology and the Internet. This naming fetish didn‟t stop at these three terms, and these terms are used interchangeably in every day discussions, but for the purposes of this article, this article will use the term “digital native.”

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