Digital Natives Vs. Digital Immigrants

In 2001, Marc Prensky published an article called “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”. It is available to the public here:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

In this document, Prensky defines Digital Natives as the students of today, those who are fluent in the digital language of computers, video games, and the Internet (Prensky, 2001, p. 1).

Those that are not born in to the digital world of today, but instead became fascinated by it later in life are referred to as Digital Immigrants (Prensky, 2001, p. 2).

Looking at these two definitions, I find it interesting to think of how the information profession addresses the differences between the two. For one, technology is a standard way of life, gradually building and adding new skills. For the other, technology is a learned language that came later in life with its own hurdles and even dialects.

When thinking of correlations between Digital Immigrants and true immigrants, would it be fair to connect language courses with technology courses? Prensky (2001) already makes a connection between accents, establishing another term, “digital immigrant accent” (p. 2). A digital immigrant accent is defined by Prensky as being the foot in the past, or when people choose to turn to physical versions over digital. Examples would include reading a manual instead of searching for something, paper copies over digital, or Prensky’s favorite, the phone call asking if someone received their email (p.2).

I found this interesting, even when considering the library or archive’s approach to these two different audiences. Do you see a targeted amount of marketing to one over the other? Do you see paper flyers over digital newsletters?

Hope you enjoyed!

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon,
9(5), 6. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf