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ERIC Number: EJ1046792
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
Digital Renegades in America: Changing Metaphors to Realize the Potential of Technology in Education
Smith, Thomas
Critical Questions in Education, v4 n1 p30-41 Win 2013
In 2001, Marc Prensky introduced a new metaphor to the educational landscape. He suggested that the rising generation were growing up in a time so filled with new media that they were "digital natives," while those born earlier were "digital immigrants." In this view, because the digital natives are growing up immersed in a sea of technology, the ways they learn, interact, and envision the world are markedly different. In contrast, the older generations or digital immigrants, are more plodding and hesitant when it comes to change and technology and, as a result, are behind the times when it comes to learning, teaching, and being. The result is an approach to schooling that marginalizes teachers (digital immigrants) and enthrones technology as the unquestioned savior of the rising generation (digital natives). Since its inception, the digital native/digital immigrant metaphor has become the defining metaphor among teachers and many others for the role of technology in education. Thomas Smith, however, believes the unquestioningly Pollyanna-ish view of technology's good and dreary view of teachers and their agency inside the classroom is ill-suited to the needs of a society, such as ours, facing a need for more democratic approaches and practices in schools. Furthermore, the outright dismissal of teachers runs counter to the idea of teacher agency and power and the notion that teachers are tools of democratic renewal and growth (Dewey, 2004; Freire, 1970; Giroux, 2005). As a result, Smith argues that the digital native/digital immigrant metaphor needs to be put aside and a new metaphor is needed to help guide our thinking and actions as we confront the perils and potentials embodied in new technologies in the classroom.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
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