Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

A frequent objection I hear from Digital Immigrant educators is “this approach is great for facts, but it wouldn’t work for ‘my subject.'” Nonsense. This is just rationalization and lack of imagination. In my talks I now include “thought experiments” where I invite professors and teachers to suggest a subject or topic, and I attempt –on the spot — to invent a game or other Digital Native method for learning it. Classical philosophy? Create a game in which the philosophers debate and the learners have to pick out what each would say. The Holocaust? Create a simulation where students role-play the meeting at Wannsee, or one where they can experience the true horror of the camps, as opposed to the films like Schindler’s List. It’s just dumb (and lazy) of educators — not to mention ineffective — to presume that (despite their traditions) the Digital Immigrant way is the only way to teach, and that the Digital Natives’ “language” is not as capable as their own of encompassing any and every idea. —Marc PrenskyDigital Natives, Digital Immigrants (

Extremely relevant when it was written in 2001, and still important now. When I recently gave a talk about simulations in Holocaust education, I didn’t mention this passage, but I probably should have.