The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature

January 26, 2013

More than a decade after Prensky’s influential articulation of digital natives and immigrants, great disagreement exists around these characterizations of students and the impact of such notions within higher education. Perceptions of today’s undergraduate learners as tech-savvy “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001a), who both want and need the latest emerging technologies in all learning situations, continue to dominate the discourse in education technology research and practice. Popular yet largely unsubstantiated conceptions of digital natives are often embedded within the assumptions of contemporary research on student perceptions of emerging technologies, seemingly without regard for a growing body of evidence questioning such notions. In order to promote critical discussion in the higher education community considering potential directions for further research of these issues, especially within the Canadian context, the purpose of this review of recent literature is to analyze key themes emerging from contemporary research on the Net generation as digital natives.

Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology

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