The Difference Between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

By: Meshell, an Early Childhood Studies Student.

The article titled Digital Natives Come to Preschool: Implications for Early Childhood Practice Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood written by Robyn Zevenbergen, the author used term that I was not familiar with or even heard before. The term that I would like to share with you all is Prensky’s term called ‘digital natives’ (Zevenbergen, 2007, p.19). “Digital natives refer to the generation who has grown up with digital technologies so that they are a part of their world view. Conversely, those generations who have not grown up in these technology-rich worlds are ‘digital immigrants’ – they can learn the new technologies but considerably more effort is required than for the digital natives” (Zevenbergen, 2007, p.20)
5 Occasions When No Technology Is Better. (2014, January 03). Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

Relating this term back to my life, I would say that my Father is a digital immigrant because he grew up in the country side of Romania when it was a communist country. He also had limited access to technology because of the lack of resources at the time. For example, in both the city and in the country side there was no such thing as cellphones, computers or even vehicles.

IF THERE’S NO TECHNOLOGY. (2013, May 29). Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

At that time, Romania did not even have electricity to light up a dark room, he however used candles, and to cook food he used a wood-burning stove. Reflecting on this now, he did not have the same technology at his fingertips in the way that I did growing up which made every day tasks somewhat difficult. When he came to Canada, he had to learn everything from scratch in regards to how cellphones and computers work. To this day he still asks me questions about his cellular device and computer when he is having some difficulties. Although I may seem like the expert in technology in his eyes, I would not consider myself as tech savvy because I do not know absolutely everything when it comes down to technology.

G. (2016, October 05). Openclipart. Retrieved January, 31, 2017, from


Taylor, D. J. (2016, April 08). Dr. Jim Taylor. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

In the subsection of the article called ‘Quality Use of Computers to Support Learning’ it states, “In studying interactions – a key aspect of the early childhood learning experience – computers have been found to improve social interaction”(Zevenbergen, 2007, p.24). In my opinion this seems to be true, as children will gather around a child who has a classroom I-Pad in his or her’s hand. In another study that was conducted by Clements he articulated that children interacted with each other better in pairs on a computer than in pairs when completing a puzzle (Zevenbergen, 2oo7, p.24). Another writer who had the same point of view named Judge reasons that, “well-designed software is used with young children, they become engaged, are involved in exploration, their interest is maintained over sustained periods of time and active involvement is encouraged” (as cited in Zevenbergen, 2007, p. 24). In my opinion I think that young children really enjoy using technology such as computers because it indeed is very engaging.

L. (1970, January 01). Lovely. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

In a previous article that I have read prior, titled Problem Solving by 5–6 years Old Kindergarten Children in a Computer Programming Environment: A case study written by Fessakis, G., Gouli, E., & Mavroudi, E. also discussed about a software program called Logo. The article that I read prior to this one discussed the many advantages of children using Logo, therefore numerous of studies based on this software makes it clear that children benefit from this mathematical software because they are learning how to rotate and rearrange shapes. A critic named Cuffaro did not think this software was beneficial to a young child’s learning because he states that some young children have difficulties drawing shapes on a piece of paper, however using a software like Logo gives a child the confidence in drawing a square with four equal sides (Zevenbergen, 2007, p. 24). Thus, children using this software with a few clicks allow a child to feel proud in what he or she has created (Zevenbergen, 2007, p.24).

If you early childhood educators would like to learn more about Logo and bringing technology into the classroom, please have a read. The link for this article is

Thank you,



5 Occasions When No Technology Is Better. (2014, January 03). Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

Fessakis, G., Gouli, E., & Mavroudi, E. (2013). Problem solving by 5–6 yearsold kindergarten children in a computer programming environment: A case study. Computers & Education63, 87-97.

G. (2016, October 05). Openclipart. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

IF THERE’S NO TECHNOLOGY. (2013, May 29). Retrieved January 21, 2017, from

L. (1970, January 01). Lovely. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

Taylor, D. J. (2016, April 08). Dr. Jim Taylor. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from

Zevenbergen, R. (2007). Digital natives come to preschool: Implications for early childhood practice. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(1), 19-29.

Word Count: 811


2 thoughts on “The Difference Between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

  1. iquratariqtechnology says:

    Again, just like Khadija I agree that we shouldn’t be defined as digital immigrants or digital natives. Personally speaking, I don’t know about others but I myself don’t feel that I am a digital native. Although its true that I’m better off at using technology than my two parents I still feel that I’m not 100% tech savvy! Unlike the children that are born today and have school experiences today I would say that they should be more defined as ‘digital natives’. I say this because children as young as preschoolers and kindergarten are very lucky and fortunate as they are exposed to rich technology that includes iPads for documentation, camera’s, and most importantly SMART boards. Me on the other hand, did not see any of this rich technology in my junior or intermediate classrooms. It was not until high school or university did I see a vast amount of technology. Thus, this is the exact reason why I don’t see myself as a digital native! Instead, I happen to consider myself in between the two terms digital immigrants and digital natives!


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