Digital Natives are people who have grown up in the digital world using technology as a way to communicate, record, educate, and understand society. Today's tweens and teens are digital natives as they have had access to computers, cell phones, email, and other forms of technology since birth. Digital Natives speak the language of technology and are as comfortable with technology as past generations have been with pen and paper.
Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multitask. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to "serious" work.
In contrast, those not born in the digital world reveal their non-native status through a "digital immigrant accent" that manifests itself in a number of ways—printing out a digital document to edit it rather than editing it online , they also show their students in class to see an interesting website rather than just sending them the URL because they might not know how to send it via email.
According to Prensky, digital immigrants are attempting to teach the digital natives with methods that are no longer valid; the only choice may be for educators to change the way they teach. "Unfortunately," he says, "no matter how much the Immigrants may wish it, it is highly unlikely the Digital Natives will go backwards. In the first place, it may be impossible? their brains may already be different"
The solution Prensky proposes is for today's teachers to learn the language of the natives, to speed up instruction, and to provide "random access. Prensky argues for a new way of looking at educational content as well. A category that he calls "legacy content" consists of traditional subjects such as reading, writing, and logical thinking; "future content" is "digital and technological," including such subjects as "software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology and genomics" as well as the "ethics, politics, sociology, languages, and other things that go with them"
According to Prensky, hat is the biggest serious problem facing education today because our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.
So if Digital Immigrant educators really want to reach Digital Natives – i.e. all their students – they will have to change. It‟s high time for them to stop their grousing, and as the Nike motto of the Digital Native generation says, “Just do it!” They will succeed in the long run – and their successes will come that much sooner if their administrators support them