The mystery of the digital natives' existence: Questioning the validity of the Prenskian metaphor
Net Generation (Tapscott, 2009, 1998; Oblinger and Oblinger, 2005), Generation Y (Zhao and Liu, 2008; Halse and Mallinson, 2009), Millennials (Howe and Strauss, 2000), Homo Zappiens (Veen, 2003) and i-Generation (Rosen, 2010). The labels used to describe the generation of young people and their relation with technology are numerous. Over the past few years, one of the notions, which might have had more echoes among parents, teachers, and policy-makers is those of “digital natives” introduced in 2001 by Mark Prensky. The metaphor has had enduring influence on how the educational system perceives students and technology. Most scholars do not like it, for various reasons. Among other problems, the term implies that technological abilities are innate rather than taught and learned. The aim of this contribution is not to join the existing debate about the existence of digital native but to examine if there is any empirical evidence to support the use of that metaphor in the first place, questioning its usefulness to depict particular generations of young people.
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