Thursday, 18 January 2007

Are you a digital migrant or a native?

I first came across these 2 terms when I attended the Microsoft TechEd 2006 in August last year. Someone has coined these terms and I was eager to figure out what they mean. A quick search in google landed me these definitions:

The term 'digital native' expresses a useful concept in clarifying the aims of learning technology development. It signifies both the technological and cultural challenges that we face. A specification of what it means to be 'digitally native' provides a clear cut measure for us to assess progress, and at the same time helps to explain why being digitally native is a good thing.

Basically a digital native is someone born after 1985, where computers are mainstream. On the other hand, a digital migrant was born earlier than 1985 and has had to ‘migrate’ to the notion of digital in their life. Some have fully integrated whilst others are still going through the migration process.

Definition of Digital Migrant / Immigrant (
Someone who grew up before the Digital age and is fairly new to ICTs (specifically the internet) and communicating with digital media. Basically anyone over the age of 28.

According to all these definitions, a Digital Native is someone who is born after 1985. I was born in the 70s where colour TV only started to become the "norm" in an average home. However, having been introduced to my first Apple 2E computer in my primary school years, I am as "digital native" as most of the born after 1985 kiddies. I chat with my siblings overseas using Instant Messaging (IM), we even use Yahoo! Messenger VoIP Telephony to hold lengthy conversation. I maintain at least 1 pesudo profile online. Joined many online community, keep in touch with the latest gadgets and toys, get feed information online (I don't buy no more newspapers), listen to podcasts, and heck, I even blog (like what I am doing right now).

I believe that being a digital migrant or native is not so much based on your physical age, but more on the fact of how "native" or "natural" you are with the digital world. An older person may well be fully immersed in the digital world whereas a teenager may be totally ignorant to ICT.

You may call me a geek or a nerd, but I know I am a digital Native. What about you? ;)


Qui-Bon said...

Do digital natives get digital viruses?

Autumn Leaf said...

Well, I suppose you can. Have you seen the movie called "Lawn Mower man"? The guy's got his brain fried. I suppose a virus can attack a person when the person is digitised into a virtual world :)