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Digital Natives And Immigrants: What Brain Research Tells Us' By Nancy K. Herther

1111 words - 4 pages

'Digital Natives and Immigrants: What Brain Research Tells Us' is an organized, rhetorical piece by Nancy K. Hethers, explaining the reasons and rationale behind the great divide of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, and sheds light over the effective cognitive development that takes place as a result of stimulating experiences in the light of Neuroscientic evidence and research. The underlying purpose of this article is to shed light over the fact that the brain adapts itself to the challenges and situations that it comes across, and that the brains of the Digital Natives are not more effectively equipped than the brains of the Digital Immigrants. The individuals termed as Digital Immigrants have also proved that they have adequate adaptive abilities to counter the challenges of today as effectively as Digital Natives can. The author addresses the general public as audience, while delivering an insightful research over the workings of the brain, and specifically seeks to refute the arguments of claimants, who believe that Digital Natives are born with specially equipped brains, and the Digital Immigrants stand no chance at competing with them at cognitive levels.
The author claims that the working of a human brain is deeply affected by the technological advances of the current age. Closely administered behavior of Digital Natives reveals that they have sharper cognitive skills as compared to the Digital Immigrants of the previous generation. She begins by quoting Palfrey and Gasser as her counter-argument, who acknowledge the difference between the current and previous generations, thus: “These kids are different. They study, work, write and interact with each other in ways that are very different from the ways that you did growing up...” (qtd. in Herther, 419) She builds on the same argument by reporting the difference in generations in the field of education, observed by Tapscott and Prensky, who believe that “Digital Immigrant instructors … speak an outdated language (that of a pre-digital age), and are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” (419) From the perspective of Digital Natives, the Digital Immigrants are “a population of heavily accented, unintelligible foreigners”, due to their lack at adopting technology. (420)
However, she moves on to refute, and logically justify it with the fact that the youth of the present generation have grown up with technology leaning heavily over their entire lives. They thrive on technology, and no institution, service or profession that they are involved in, works without adopting or facilitating modern technology. With such vast and early exposure to progressive knowledge, their brains have developed and adapted themselves to the growing demands and challenges of time. This is the main reason why there appears a huge difference between the current and previous generations, not defined by mere incremental changes as termed by Prensky, but rather showing a vivid...

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