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This content is taken from the Coventry University, The Alan Turing Institute & Macmillan Education's online course, Understanding English Dictionaries. Join the course to learn more.

Are you a ‘digital native’?

A distinction is often made between those who have grown up entirely in the internet-connected world (the so-called ‘digital natives’) and those who started to use the internet as adults (the so-called ‘digital immigrants’).

Look at the descriptions of digital natives and digital immigrants below.

Which description fits you better?

Digital native

  • You prefer receiving information quickly from multiple multimedia sources.
  • You like to do lots of different tasks at the same time.
  • You prefer to get your information from pictures, sounds and video rather than from texts.
  • You like to click on hyperlinks to jump to new information.
  • You like to interact with lots of other people.
  • You like to acquire new information the moment you need it.
  • You prefer instant rewards.

Digital immigrant

  • You prefer slow and controlled release information from limited sources.
  • You like to do one task at a time.
  • You prefer to get your information from text rather than from pictures, sounds and video.
  • You like information to be presented in a logical sequential order.
  • You like to work on your own.
  • You like to acquire new information in case one day you will need it.
  • You like to wait for your rewards.

Your task

Which description fits you better? Do you think your answers reflect:

  • Your own individual personality?
  • Your level of experience with Web 2.0 technology?
  • A mixture of both?

Do your answers reveal anything about:

  • How you prefer to find information about words?
  • The kind of dictionaries that you like to use?
  • How willing you would be to contribute to crowdsourced and/or collaborative dictionaries?


Bessenyei, I., (2008). Learning and teaching in the information society. Elearning 2.0 and connectivism. Information Society, R. Pinter (Ed), Ed. Gondolat, 9, pp.1-14.

Further reading

This article, about eLearning 2.0 and Connectivism, gives a fuller account of how Web 2.0 has enabled learners to form their own online learning communities.

Next in Step 1.12 we will look in more detail at Wikipedia, a collaborative dictionary, and Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced dictionary.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding English Dictionaries

Coventry University