Digital Natives as coined by Marc Prensky are students that we teach that inherently have integrated technology into their lives. On the other hand, digital immigrants are somewhat new to the technology scene and are usually described as archaic educators that struggle in the attempt to “get on the edtech bandwagon of the 21st century.” Apple has a great article on the comparison of the two groups.
In my humble opinion…
I feel that there exist another minuscule elitist group of students (feared by school technology assistants) that go beyond the status of digital natives.
They are consumed by the love of technology and intrinsically pushed to go where they are not permitted either on or offline. Curiosity of computers or even electronic is not enough for these students; they are also not satisfied with the current established boundaries by parents or schools. So they defy or cross the designated boundaries established for them.
For many years and somewhat still today, these students when caught are labeled as hackers. Instead, please consider them as digital aliens. Pioneers such as Stephen Wozniak , Linus Torvalds, or even Kevin Mitnick are great examples of this breed of student. Let’s not be afraid of them, but instead direct their focus to a constructive direction. Also, here is an interestingly comical-to-me and very outdated (2001) satirical web treasure that shares how to detect if your child is a digital alien.