Friday, January 25th, 2013 | Author:

This week’s material raised many questions for me, beginning with the Digital Native vs Digital Immigrant section. I found this rather interesting because there is no firm definition of who a digital native or immigrant is. The definitions are loose at best and give concrete ages rather than a year to define who digital natives or immigrants are. That’s all fine and dandy but when it comes to time, it doesn’t stand still, so how is a specific age relevant in a definition? The urban dictionary specifies that digital immigrants are “anyone over the age of 28” (2004), but without looking at when this definition was published, that information may be taken at face value. Something many of today’s digital natives probably wouldn’t take note of because, as Jamie McKenzie states in his article “From Now On”, “they are guilty of “arcade scholarship” (which is) analysis that is superficial and cartoonish” (2007). With that in mind it is hard to believe that today’s digital natives will read all the fine print and make an accurate assessment of the definitions they are reading.

An alternative definition in the urban dictionary suggests a digital immigrant is “someone who was born before the existance of digital technologies and adopted it to some extent later in life” (2011). This definition is a bit vague as well, but it forces the reader to possibly do a bit of research to find out when digital technologies came into existance. Of course the digital native will more than likely scroll down the page in the urban dictionary and find the previouse definition mentioned (with the specified age) and call it a day. Of course the best option would be for the reader/researcher to verify this information by using multiple sources but this would take more work, time and effort.

This brings me to the article we read this week by Greg Toppo “What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st century skills’?”. I agree that students today must master these 21st century skills in order to be successful in the future, and secure jobs that will be relevant in the next 10-20 years. The world wide web has opened vast opportunities to communicate with people from all around the world, so it is extremely important today’s students understand how to use these technologies properly and also how to communicate and collaborate effectively.  However, I also agree that we cannot leave behind what the initial goal of education was, the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic), as they are the building blocks that aid in understanding the technological world that surrounds us today. 

I believe the best way to accomplish both of these goals is to find ways to marry them together and not choose one over the other.  This is something teachers are beginning to do with the introduction of SMART boards/Interactive white boards in many of today’s classrooms.  Teacher’s should be responsible for teaching the core curriculm and allowing students to build on it using additional resources and technologies.  This way the students are given the choice to retain the core knowledge and build on it when working independetnly or in groups, or forget the information and continue to research and learn informaiton on a superficial or shallow level.  

After looking at the Partnership for 21st-Century skills website, I believe this group is on the right track to incorporate the 3Rs and 4Cs into a working curriculum.  While this is still a fairly new idea (2002) their diagram (below) shows great potential and a vision that knows where it wants to go.  Obviously the plan needs some adjustments but that can only happen through a series of trials and errors. There is always room for improvement and in this fast changing world of technology this particular way of teaching and learning will constantly be evolving. The biggest challenge is fitting it all into a 9 month time period but I have high hopes that the integration of technology will make this possible.

















Framework for 21st century learning: 21st century student outcomes and support systems. Partnership for 21st-Century Skills. Retrieved from

McKenzie, Jamie. (2007). From now on. The Educational Technology Journal, vol 17 (2). Retrieved from

Oingodeboingo. (2004, November 11). Digital immigrant. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Snippllewitz, Millard. (2011, September 6). Digital immigrant. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Toppo, Greg. (2009, May 5). What to learn: ‘core knowledge’ or 21st-century skills’?. USA Today. Retrieved from

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  1. Kayla Patterson says:

    I like your analysis of the definitions on digital native and digital immigrant. I don’t know if you feel this way but I fit the category in age for being a digital native. Yes I have an iPhone and a MacBook but I do not consider myself technologically sound. I can get by. Blogging has been incredibly hard for me! Linking things etc. therefore I agree with you that these definitions are quite loose!!! Great citations!

  2. Kim says:

    Hi Jeanette,

    I agree with your assessment of P21 and the need to blend the 3Rs and 4Cs into the curriculum. As you note, this will require some trial and error and adjustments along the way. It should serve as a roadmap to enabling our students to understand and compete in a global environment. As you mention, the biggest challenge will be fitting it all into a 9 month period. In the ‘core knowledge’ or ’21st century skills’? article, it appears Mr. Hirsch has similar concerns but is a bit more critical of P21. Having said that, it may just be that implementing the 4Cs will accelerate the 3Rs!