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Educational Planning49Vol. 24, No. 4EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES FOR K-12 LEARNERS:WHAT DIGITAL NATIVES AND DIGITAL IMMIGRANTS CAN TEACH ONE ANOTHERCAITLIN RIEGELNiagara UniversityROSINA METENiagara UniversityABSTRACTAs technology continues to evolve, the gap between those who have grown up with technology (digitalnatives) and those who have not (digital immigrants) continues to widen. This gap is very presentin the K-12 classroom, where both digital natives (students) and digital immigrants (teachers) worktogether. This gap highlights a stigma associated with each group; digital natives are comfortablewith technology and digital immigrants are not. However, just as digital natives can teach digitalimmigrants a lot in terms of using, navigating, and harnessing the efficiency of technology, digitalimmigrants can offer digital natives a lot in terms of learning to use, troubleshooting, and operatingwithout technology.INTRODUCTIONTechnology has not only become a powerful tool in daily life, but has had a large impacton education (Mete, Riegel, Kozen, & Polka, 2017). With technologies allowing for increasedlearning efficiency, faster and more reliable information, professional presentations of studentwork, and diverse approaches to learning, the use of technology in K-12 has become “central toteaching and learning” (D’Angelo & Woosley, 2007, p. 462; Li, 2007; Nickerson & Zodhiates,2013). It follows that K-12 educators would harness educational technology as a teaching tool inthe classroom, so students can “harness technology to be effective problem solvers, collaborators,communicators, and creators” (National Education Association [NEA], 2014, p. 31). However, afundamental problem concerning the way teachers and students view and use technology has limitedtechnology’s effectiveness in the classroom; “instructors, who speak an outdated language (thatof the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language”(Prensky, 2001, p. 2).Although the increased use of technology has supported, assisted and even enhanced theact of learning (Selwyn, 2010), it has also widened the gap between those who have grown upwith technology (digital natives) and those who have not (digital immigrants) (Prensky, 2001). Theinformation discussed with in the article generally assumes that the majority of digital immigrantswork as teachers in K-12 classrooms, while students make up the majority of digital natives in thesame settings. However, the authors acknowledge that these two groups are not distinct and mayoverlap.In 21st century classrooms, where teachers often have not grown up with the technologybeing used, it follows that teachers often assume the role of digital immigrants and students oftenassume the role of digital natives. Since both digital natives (students) and digital immigrants(teachers) work together in the K-12 classroom, it is vital that both groups use their strengths toenhance each other’s knowledge pertaining to technology. However, the stigma associated with eachgroup (i.e. digital natives are comfortable with technology and digital immigrants are not) may keepreciprocal learning from occurring.

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