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Are you a digital immigrant or a digital native?

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2015 12:02 PM

Author Marc Prensky created the terms "digital immigrant" and "digital native" in 2001, according to CNN. These concepts refer to growing up with access to technology versus coming to it at a later age. A person's digital literacy can greatly affect their grades and State Standards testing, as those who have a better understanding of computer and Internet use often have higher scores.

Immigrant versus native
When a person grew up without the Internet and the use of cellphones, smartphones, tablets and computers, they are considered to be a digital immigrant. These individuals, typically people who are late millennials or older, may learn the technology that is available today but do so later in life [often to the detriment of their sense of adaptability]. Digital immigrants, on the other hand, grow up with the tech and are much quicker to assimilate and use it for personal and academic reasons. Your son or daughter and grandchildren are likely digital natives, having grown up knowing to turn to Google with a question or to use a smartphone for GPS capabilities. 

CNN stated that people in developing countries or who are not as financially capable have less access to technology and therefor are considered to be in "digital poverty." Because they lack access to devices needed to understand the tech, "digital outcasts" are created.  While these individuals may have never seen a tablet or played with the touch screen, they likely know the devices exist and will one day use them as  physical tech becomes more widely available to individuals in rural areas.

Encouraging digital literacy
Yale offers a helpful resource for those looking to encourage digital literacy. Simply growing up with the Internet at hand isn't going to mean that your child is a wizard with the computer. He or she must learn how to search for academic purposes, as well as proper digital citizenship and how to navigate to finding legitimate sources.

Privacy is another concern that students must understand beginning in kindergarten and through their remaining academic careers. Many schools offer standards test prep on the computer, and feeling comfortable using these high-tech devices is a great step toward earning high marks on the actual exam. Practice tests offer a useful way to gain insight on the real test, so it's a good idea that your child partakes in these pre-tests to prepare for the real exam.