Net Talk

Digital Natives, Immigrants and Resistors: An Uneasy Mix at the College Level

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010
  • part 1
  • part 2
  • part 3
  • part 4


  • Lee Anne Johnston, Heritage College


  • Mary Franfoff, Heritage College
  • Martine Peters, Université du Québec en Outaouais

The college classroom today is replete with digital natives. This refers to the generation born after 1980 that has, ostensibly, grown up with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as central to their everyday lives.

Digital immigrants, on the other hand, refer to that part of the population who were born earlier than natives, and have had to immigrate to the digital world.

Anecdotally, at Heritage College, little consistency is observed among students in their ICT knowledge and usage. It appeared that this “digital divide” was more than an inter-generational phenomenon.

The focus of this research is to assess the degree to which students belong to the digital native category or to the digital immigrant category. Moreover, we have identified a third group in this population that we call the digital resistor. The digital resistor is any student who rejects the culture of ICTs because it clashes with their own set of values – be they cultural, generational, or social.

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