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The concept of digital natives was proposed by education consultant Marc Prensky in 2001 to describe students born after 1980. This entry describes the concept and then discusses research on young people and technology and Prensky’s response to criticism of the digital natives formulation. It concludes by examining the visitors and residents framework, which focuses on levels of engagement with technology rather than on users’ age.

Digital natives, in Prensky’s formulation, are those who grew up or are growing up in the digital age, which began in the late 1970s with the advent of the personal computer followed by the Internet and information explosion of the 1990s. Immersion in digitally related activities is part of their everyday lives.

According to Prensky, digital natives have a culture of ...

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