How to Approach Digital Natives in Education

With global literacy rates being at an all-time high, it means that the vast majority of the world population have spent at least some time in the classroom. But the thing is, not all individuals perceive education the same, something that was also visible even within our classmates. Every student has had a preference for specific subjects, teachers, or ways of teaching. This shows the pluralism that exists even within people of the same generation and, of course, personal preferences. But what happens with the so-called digital natives? Do they share a common preference towards a specific way of teaching in education?

Let us find out.

Digital Natives Definition

This term describes the young people who are born and raised in the digital age. More specifically, they grew up with the internet, social media, smartphones, tablets and others; thus, they are quite proficient in using them. Lastly, as digital natives are describe those born between 1996 and 2010 belong to Gen Z.  

The opposite of that is what we call digital immigrants. As someone can imagine, a digital immigrant was born before 1995 in a print and television dominated world before the rise of the internet that they became familiar with as grown-ups.

Stay with me now as I will explain why those definitions matter when it boils down to education.

Educational Approaches for Digital Natives

The traditional chalk-and-talk approaches for teaching is probably not ideal when it comes to teaching those tech-savvy students. That traditional approach most likely involves a blackboard and a lecturing teacher that breaks down the class’s content while the students are taking notes. Evidence suggests that this way of teaching is somewhat obsolete and that it does not speak to the needs or interests of Gen Z.   

And that is precisely the point where the problems arise. To teach digital natives, educators need to be familiar with technology and master digital tools in their teaching methods. The majority of the new generation of students report that they learn best by doing as opposed to listening. To this end, it will help integrate digital tools in the classroom to make classes more interactive and participatory. The role of technology is vital here as young students are most familiar with it.

But having digital immigrants teach the young Generation Z needs a lot of effort, training, and resources to achieve that. Speaking for Europe, the digital transformation initiative that Digital Europe Programme has undertaken will play a significant role in upgrading European the classroom to accommodate the needs of digital natives best.     

The Importance of DIG IN Project

DIG IN is an Erasmus+ funded European project that seeks to establish new strategies to reach and motivate NEETs to train them and increase their employability. It is essential to understand their experiences and how they communicate to reach them and engage with them as a first step. Then, having done that and knowing the most efficient ways to train them, the results will be more promising.

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Vasilis Bouronikos
Content & Communication Manager

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