Background of the study: Learning from Digital natives: Integrating formal and informal learning project funded by the HEA in 2006-2007. Study originally conceived in 2005. Collaboration between Strathclyde and GCU. Co-PIs: AL, AM; David Nicol as consultant KT (who was at the time not yet at the CA) and JG (School of Health and Social Care) were recruited as a Project Manager and an RF respectively Also link to LEX (Kathy to talk about this) The final report was released in May last year. We are currently re-analysing some of the data for journal publications. The reason we are revisiting the data is that despite the report generating very good feedback from the HEA and the anonymous reviewers, we knew that the level of the analysis in the report was not sufficiently in-depth for a publication in an impact-rated journal. So what Kathy and I will share with you today is some of the elements of the original report, but also the more in-depth findings from the recent data analysis
The key issues we investigated: We will discuss our findings on most of these issues, but won’t have time to share the examples – if you are interested you can look them up in the LDN report, available on the LDN website on the CA pages.
The design of the study – three main stages: Lit review Empirical investigation Synthesis
In the literature, there is a debate around this idea that a new generation of students – various terms used to denote them are Millenials, NetGen, Generation Y, Homo Zappiens, and Digital Natives is entering institutions of higher education. It has been claimed that this generation have grown up with ICT and therefore have sophisticated technology skills and a whole new set of cognitive capacities and therefore they are adopting radically new learning styles. Some of the current sentiment about what these new cognitive capacities and learning styles are is captured in this quote from Chris Dede. The proponents of this view- Prensky, Howe, The Oblingers, and others (references available in the paper on my website)- conclude that educational system is not prepared to accommodate the needs of this new generation of learners. The problem with these views is that they have largely remained rhetorical and have not been substantiated by empirical data.
There have been calls to move away from what has been likened to academic moral panic to a more considered and disinterested examination of the assumptions underpinning the claims about digital natives. Sue Bennett and colleagues in Australia, in their recently published literature review concluded that there was no evidence of radically different learning styles emerging around technology use by young people.
So a range of empirical studies have begun to emerge, more intensively in the last couple of years. The findings of these studies are varied. The studies can be broadly grouped into those that support at least some of the claims about “digital natives” and those that contradict these claims. Among the studies supporting the claims about “digital natives” is Grainne Conole’s and colleagues 2006 JISC study, in which they surveyed 427 undergraduate students in the UK; the survey was supplemented by audio logs collected from 85 participants, followed up by 14 interviews. They have found that...
In another study, Ramney in the US investigated undergraduate students’ self-perception of the applicability to themselves of the seven characteristics of the millennial generation identified by Howe & Strauss (Howe and Strauss 2003, cited in Ramney 2007). The characteristics are: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving. Ramney found that students’ agreement with the seven characteristics was relatively high for all of the characteristics except for team-oriented and sheltered. Significant differences for both self and peer perceptions for the seven characteristics were found by gender, ethnicity, family history of education, and geographical area of primary and secondary education.
Other studies contradict the claims about students’ special cognitive and learning styles and extensive use of technologies. For example, Bullen et al (2008) conducted semi-structured interviews with 69 Canadian students. They found that: students do not posses “a deep knowledge of technology, but have a good understanding of what it can or cannot do for them”; that they “use a limited toolkit (Facebook, MSN, email, mobile phones)”; that “outside of class students seek access to practical solutions to their course-related issues and ICTs are often not the most practical solutions”; and that “students use of ICT is not elated to their age”.
Kvavik’s (2005) survey of 4374 undergraduate students in the US revealed similar results: “ students have basic office suite skills and can use email and surf the Internet with ease but moving beyond basic activities is problematic; it appears they do not recognize the enhanced functionality of the applications they own and use.“ “ they only have a moderate preference for the use of technology in their classes”; consequently, “there is a need for &quot;significant further training in the use of information technology in support of learning and problem-solving skills.” &quot;students appear to be slower in developing adequate skills in using information technology in support of their academic activities”
An Australian study by Kennedy et al (2007) found that: - students “were nowhere near as frequent users of new technologies as some commentators have been suggesting”. “ established applications such as searching for information on the web, email, mobile telephony and SMS messaging” were used very frequently while “ newer technologies, such as blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking tools that allow students to share, collaborate, produce and publish material online are used by a relatively small proportion of students”. Their findings are based on a survey of 2588 first year students, followed up by individual or focus group interview of 46 of these students.
Sandars and colleagues surveyed 212 undergraduate medical students, uncovering mixed results: high levels of use of instant messaging (90%) and social networking sites (70 %). Conversely, low levels of use of blogs: 20% read blogs, while only 5% wrote their own blogs. Low levels of use of resource sharing and contribution to wikis social bookmarking was rarely used.
Martin Ebner and colleagues at University of Graz and University of Zuerich investigated first year undergraduate students’ use of ICT. Their findings point to: students’ high familiarity with and use of Wikipedia, You Tube and MySpace low familiarity with and use of social bookmarking, podcasts, (micro-)blogging and virtual worlds. most of the frequently used technologies such as Wikipedia are used only for passive consumption of information. when students where asked what form of elearning was the most important for them, the majority of students emphasised the possibility to download lecture notes; opportunities for communication and discussion were unimportant for the majority of the students. Understanding the causes of the differences in the conclusions drawn from these studies would require a systematic meta-analysis comparing the characteristics of their samples, methodologies and measurement instruments as well as the contexts in which these studies took place -pedagogic design of courses, socio-economic background of students, their life circumstances, for example geographic proximity to friends and family, general sociability (extroversion, introversion) and so forth. Conducting such a meta-analysis was beyond the purpose of our study, although there is I think now a very good case for it given the increasing number of the empirical studies in this area. But what is clear is that the differences in conclusions may point to the fact that the “digital native” label cannot be applied to each and every young person across all learning situations.
The aim of our study was to contribute evidence to inform the debate on how students use technologies to support learning. The data collection was carried out from January to May 2007, within two different subject disciplines (social work and engineering) in the Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities. The data was collected using a questionnaire survey , followed by individual one-hour long semi-structured interviews. 160 students responded to the survey (80 from each institution, 130 engineering and 30 social work students); and we interviewed eight students (four students at each institution, including two from each discipline ). Eight members of staff were interviewed at both institutions. These consisted of four lecturers and four support staff.
I will outline findings key findings from student interviews (part 1); then will summarise results from interviews with students (part 2) and staff (part 3).
In terms of the profile of the respondents, the majority were engineering students, while the total numbers were split equally between the two institutions. This overrepresentation is because in both institutions Engineering programmes comprised more students than Social Work courses.
In terms of gender profile, the overall sample comprised a significantly higher number of male than female students, with females overrepresented in Social work while being underrepresented in Engineering. This reflects the characteristic gender imbalances within the disciplines under consideration.
The overall age range of survey respondents is from 19 to 50 years old (Mean=23, SD = 6.32, n=157) In Engineering, the age range is 19-28 y.o. (Mean=21, SD=2.4, n=127). In Social Work, the age range is 20-50 y.o. (Mean=33, SD=8.7, n=30). Engineering students were predominantly younger, the majority 20 years old, whilst in Social Work a wider range of age groups was represented.
This is an illustration of the number of “digital natives” (ie those born after 1980, according to Prensky’s definition) and “digital immigrants” (those born before 1980). In our sample, students who were 19-27 years old at the time of the data collection in 2007 are categorised as “digital natives”; 28-50 year olds are grouped under “digital immigrants”. The vast majority of the Engineering students in our sample are “digital natives”, while the Social Work students are mainly “digital immigrants”.
We explored what types of hardware devices students own and use regularly. This is the breakdown of the data by subject and institution. Results showed that Engineering students owned, on average, slightly more devices than Social Work students, t(158)=2.41, p=0.017. For example, a larger proportion of Engineering students, compared to Social Workers, owned portable media players, z(1)=2.99, p=0.003. Similarly, when we looked at the age differences we found that media players were owned by more 'Natives' than 'Immigrants', z(1)=2.84, p=0.005, but no significant differences.
We have asked students how many of their modules were making use of the institutional VLE. These are the findings split by subject and institution. A major proportion of courses in each discipline appear to make use of the institutional VLE, although in Social Work the use of VLE is more irregular. Since this question relates to lecturers’ course design decisions rather than students’ choices, the results are compared by subject only and not by age.
We explored which technologies students used to support their learning within courses. This included the VLE (Blackboard at GCU and WebCT at Strathclyde) and additional tools that lecturers may have integrated into the course either directly, or by encouraging students to use these to support their learning. These data reflect lecturers’ choices and are, therefore, compared by subject rather than age. VLE, general websites, Google, Wikipedia, and text messaging are the most frequently used tools in formal learning. Use of social technologies appears limited. Out of 19 technologies listed, Engineering students used, on average, 3.5 more technologies for formal learning than Social Work students, t(153)=4.65, p<0.001. Tests showed that Engineering students used more course websites, online assessments, MP3 players, digital cameras, handheld computers, Wikipedia, simulations, message boards and YouTube than Social Work students. Ascertaining the factors that could have caused Engineering students to use these technologies more than Social Work students would require a further in-depth investigation. These differences may be due to individual characteristics of the students and/or contextual factors (such as differences in course design and content). Interviews with students shed some light on the use of some of these technologies. An engineering student reported using an MP3 player to transfer files and for testing hardware on his Audio Technology course. We speculate that differences in the use of other tools, such as course websites, online assessment and message boards, may be related to more extensive use of VLEs by the Engineering lecturers’ as compared with the Social Work lecturers.
we also explored students’ use of the tools for informal learning. For informal learning, students in both subject groups make use of mainly general websites, course websites, Wikipedia, Google, and text messaging. In line with the trend seen in the previous sections, for informal learning Engineering students used, on average, 3.1 technologies more (out of the19 listed) than Social Work students, t(65.4)=4.27, p<0.001. A significantly larger proportion of Engineering students used digital cameras, video and audio clips, Wikipedia, instant chat and YouTube for informal learning. Use of social technologies, virtual worlds, games and simulations and podcasts is relatively low. A larger proportion of 'Natives' used video and audio clips, Wikipedia, handheld computers, and instant chat compared to the 'Immigrants'.
Finally, we investigated students’ use of technologies for socialising. Students use a broader range of tools for recreation than for learning. And again Engineering students used, on average, 2.6 technologies more (out of 11) than Social Work students, t(152)=3.33, p<0.001. More Engineering students use music, photo and video sharing, blogging, social networking sites, file sharing, Wikis and internet gaming recreationally and for socilising. Similarly, the 'Natives' used, on average, 3.0 technologies more than the 'Immigrants', t(154)=5.18, p<0001 (Table 9). The differences in the use of individual technologies are the same as in the case of course groups, apart from Wikis, which were used by the same proportion of the 'Natives' and 'Immigrants'.
While the first stage of the study explored what technologies were used (extent of use), the next stage revealed more detail about how technologies were used by students and staff (nature of use).
Clydetown is a locally developed web-based multimedia environment comprising simulated case studies of various families living in different areas of a fictitious city, Clydetown. Not all lecturers use VLE, but those who do use it mainly as a content repository: access to lecture notes, announcements and other course administration information. Despite a limited way in which VLE was used all interviewees were positive about their experiences. This is not surprising given that many students would have not had benchmarks to compare their experiences None of the interviewees seemed to be concerned about the lack of use of VLE’s communication and collaboration functionalities. Interviewees indicated that they communicate with lecturers mainly via email and use mobile phones or instant messaging to contact peers.
Although most interviewees were happy about use of VLE as a repository, they were also perplexed by its inconsistent use by lecturers.
When discussing use of VLEs by lecturers, students also made critical comments on the overall quality of teaching, as some of these quotes illustrate... David (Eng) echoed Gordon’s comment... These comments give us insight into these students’ expectations that conventional approaches to teaching will be used by lecturers - that the required ‘learning’ is through ‘broadcast of information’. And this expectation also provides insight into why students’ might be satisfied with their lecturers’ limited use of the VLE as a tool for dissemination of content.
Interviews explored use of personal or publically available technologies for learning. We had seen from the survey that Google/Scholar, Wikipedia, specialist websites, and text messaging were the most frequently used tools for learning, although their use is not ubiquitous. Two interviewees had never heard of Google Scholar, two were not familiar with Wikipedia. In addition, two interviewees were not familiar with the concept of ‘podcast’. Five did not know what a blog was or had never read or written a blog entry.
Mobile phones: used mainly to contact peers to organise project meetings, collaborate on group assignments, prepare for exams, or to record lectures. None of the interviewees used their phones to access Internet due to high costs. All interviewees indicated a preference towards text messaging rather than voice calling, because texting was considered quicker and cheaper. Instant messaging (IM) : four out of eight interviewees used an IM tool regularly to communicate with classmates and friends. Some preferred IM to fora, others preferred email.
Preferences for different forms of communication may be governed by what tools an individual is familiar with tools and their confidence and level of tolerance for ambiguity. For example Harry (SW) did not use IM due to what appears to be low confidence in experimenting with new tools:
interviewees used Wikipedia frequently to source information for assignments Cathy (Eng) too expressed concerns about the credibility of Wikipedia; she also stated that she had stopped using Wikipedia altogether when she realised it could be edited by anyone
these tools did not appear to be very popular among our sample, and those students that used them mainly associated their use with socialising and not learning. SNS including MySpace or Bebo were used by three interviewees. Except one student, who regularly read and commented on friends’ blogs, none of the rest of the interviewees wrote or read blogs...quotes
All students reported using YouTube to consume (primarily music) videos, rather than creating and uploading their own content. The most popular Social Networking Site (SNS) was Bebo which was used to keep in touch with classmates from university and school. A typical adoption pattern for SNS is through peer pressure. Only 4 out of 8 interviewees used SNS .Those who don’t use SNS said it’s because they “just don’t like all that” or “don’t like posting stuff” about themselves, or in general want to “protect my own sanity”.
We explored students’ views on the affordances of technologies and whether it would benefit their learning if tools they used outside the course for socialising or informal learning were integrated into their courses. Rather than having clear ideas on the affordances of technologies, students looked to their lecturers for clues as to how to use technology tools for learning, as shown in these typical quotes In general, students viewed many technology tools being discussed as being primarily for social purposes, summed up by the comment When interviewers asked students to suggest ways in which technologies can be used innovatively to support their learning students’ suggestions focused around content dissemination and consumption, such as making podcasts of video-or audio-recorded lectures available on the web. This outcome is not surprising, since content transmission appears to be the predominant form of technology-enhanced learning in both contexts we studied.
Some students appear to view collective and collaborative forms of learning (and tools that may support such learning) as being less beneficial educationally than lectures. For example, when asked about whether he would like to use wikis to support group work and share knowledge, one student said this <quote>
Social technologies and Web 2.0 tools seemed equally perplexing. Interviewees were unsure as to how they might draw on collaborative technologies for learning. When asked if he would like to use wikis within the course, one student said <quote 1> When the interviewer suggested that a wiki could be used to support project work, the students said <quote 2>: This was a typical pattern of response, suggesting that these students do not understand the nature and the wide repertoire of affordances of technologies, either because they don’t use these technologies or use them in a limited way for limited types of tasks. In any case what we are seeing through both the survey and the interview results is that many young students are far from the epitomic global, connected, socially-networked technologically-fluent digital native who has little patience for passive forms of learning.
Students suggested the following may be barriers to integration of tools in education <list> Some thought age might be a factor... Some students’ suggested that use of technology was impacted by some lecturers’ low interest in teaching. They too seem to be aware of the great divide between teaching and research
Eight members of staff were interviewed at both institutions, four in each. These consisted of four lecturers (of which one was also a manager), three support staff, and one manager.
Main tools that staff talked about were VLE, Clydetown, Learning Exchange, quizzes and clicker systems - Interestingly students in the interviews talked extensively about VLE and Clydetown, some also mentioned the Learning Exchange reporsitory but none mentioned the self-assessment tools and clicker systems
Some staff (mostly Engineering lecturers) we interviewed appear to perceive emerging technologies, such as Web 2.0, social technologies and virtual worlds, as and other transient and therefore not worth investing resources in integrating them in education. As one lecturer said: <quote> Some staff had experimented with emerging technologies, but reported receiving negative feedback from students. As one Engineering lecturer said <quote> The majority of staff do not have the first hand experience and understanding of the nature and the capabilities of emerging technology tools, since they do not use these tools first-hand to support their research or for networking with peers.
Some think that social technologies are only suitable for “soft” disciplines or pre-university education, for example one engineering lecturer said: <quote>
Personal attitudes and open mindset towards experimentation with new technologies were mentioned as a key factor impacting adoption of tools. Discussion the adoption of the VLE within her department, a Social Work lecturer said <quote> Some lecturers refer to students’ expectations and characteristics as a driving force, believing that students entering university were more technology-savvy than they may in fact be. A social work lecture commented <quote> Of course it is questionable, whether extensive experience with using PowerPoint can qualify as evidence of “greater knowledge and expertise of technology” , but some other lecturers we interviewed echoed this view.
Engineering staff at Strathclyde suggested that texting and instant messaging could potentially be used in teaching and learning, but that currently they were “too crude for organised educational use”. In their view these tools didn’t allow a clear delineation of the personal and the educational, and that the integration of the personal within the educational was undesirable <quote> One Social Work support staff suggested that social technologies have greater potential in workplace learning than formal learning
Unsurprisingly a major barrier cited was that of lack of time to experiment with technology and/or to use it in teaching. Lack of imagination and reluctance to change was also mentioned – with one staff member commenting <quote> Staff IT skills was a further issue. While Engineering staff generally suggested they preferred to “figure out” the technologies themselves, Social Work participants seemed to require support to get up to speed with the use of technologies. A few interviewees suggested that staff’s IT skills were inferior to those of the students, as exemplified by this quote <quote>.
Another barrier quoted by lecturers is the lack of students’ IT skills . General ICT modules provided by universities are not equipping students with the required skills: “They have to do that certificate, but strangely it focuses on high level skills, computational skills that they might need for some courses. So our students learn all this database and spreadsheets, but they can’t use WebCT”. In addition, a social work interviewee suggested that technology use within the social work profession in general and social work agencies in particular were “pretty crude and primitive. With many Social Work students being mature, professional individuals who are already working in the field, a lecturer suggested that this general technophobia of the profession seemed to have affected some students’ uptake of the VLE and other technologies. Engineering staff at Strathclyde mentioned that many students were not willing to use personal devices on campus . In agreement with student interview, staff viewed students as reluctant to carry around personal devices, particularly laptops, due to security considerations (eg lack of lockers on campus facilities). They suggested institutional initiatives at Strathclyde aimed at providing access to a cheap laptop to all students were not taken up by students. A number of infrastructure-related issues include poor wireless access in the classrooms, due to the insufficient number of wireless routers and the architectural style of buildings, which had thick walls, causing problems with wireless signal. At GCU, a Social Work lecturer said some classrooms didn’t have internet access which was a barrier to her using web-based resources in her lectures.
This are only a snapshot, but findings challenge the proposition by Prensky and others that current generation of young people have sophisticated technology skills developed through growing up with technology, providing insights into the validity of this assertion. is evidence that, younger students use a limited range of technologies more actively than older students. While students make limited, recreational, use of social technologies such as media sharing tools and social networking, findings point to a low level of use of and familiarity with a broader range of technologies, such as collaborative knowledge creation tools (wikis, personal web publishing, video/audio authoring). It is clear that students may not have a frame of reference of leading edge approaches to technology-enhanced learning to benchmark their current learning experiences against. Although the calls for radical transformations in educational approaches may be legitimate it would be misleading to ground the arguments for such change solely in students’ shifting expectations and patterns of learning and technology use.
Notes of discussion here
are digital natives a myth or reality? students’ use of technologies for learning Anoush Margaryan and Kathy Trinder
nature and extent of students’ use of technologies in formal, informal learning and socialising nature and extent of staff’s use of technologies in teaching students’ and staff’s views on educational value of technologies student’s and staff’s views on barriers to integration of technologies within education (published) examples of innovative use of technologies recommendations for integration of technologies to support learning
“ fluency in multiple media and in simulation-based virtual settings”; “communal learning involving diverse, tacit, situated experience, with knowledge distributed across a community and a context as well as within an individual”; “expression through nonlinear, associational webs of representations” “co-design of learning experiences personalized to individual needs and preferences” (Dede, 2005)
“ rather than being empirically and theoretically informed, the debate can be likened to an academic form of a ‘moral panic ’. “ the picture beginning to emerge from research on young people’s relationships with technology is much more complex than the digital native characterisation suggests. While technology is embedded in their lives, young people’s use and skills are not uniform. There is no evidence of widespread and universal disaffection, or of a distinctly different learning style the like of which has never been seen before. ” (Bennett et al, 2008)
Students are using the technologies in a “pervasive”, “integrated”, “personalised”, “social” and “interactive” way
“ Students are appropriating technologies to meet their individual needs, mixing general ICT tools and resources with official course or institutional tools and resources”
Students are developing “new forms of evaluation skills and strategies (searching, restructuring, validating) which enable them to critique and make decisions about a variety of sources and content”
“ the use of these tools is changing the way they gather, use and create knowledge … shifting from lower to higher regions of Bloom’s taxonomy… to make sense of their complex technologically enriched learning environment”
However, the students are also “frustrated…because of the misuse or lack of use of the tools” within universities.
Ramney (2007) Sample: Undergraduate students (US) Method: survey (n=1,232) Self-assesement on 7 key characteristics of the “Millennial Generation” postulated by Howe and Strauss (2003) Findings: Special Sheltered Confident Team-oriented Conventional Pressured Achieving
“ students have basic office suite skills and can use email and surf the Internet with ease but moving beyond basic activities is problematic; it appears they do not recognize the enhanced functionality of the applications they own and use. “
“ they only have a moderate preference for the use of technology in their classes ”;
“ there is a need for "significant further training in the use of information technology in support of learning and problem-solving skills.”
"students appear to be slower in developing adequate skills in using information technology in support of their academic activities ”
Method: survey (n=2588), interviews/focus groups (n=46)
- students “were nowhere near as frequent users of new technologies as some commentators have been suggesting”.
“ established applications such as searching for information on the web, email, mobile telephony and SMS messaging” were used very frequently while
“ newer technologies, such as blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking tools that allow students to share, collaborate, produce and publish material online are used by a relatively small proportion of students ”.
Sample: Undergraduate students (Austria and Switzerland)
Method: survey (n=1149)
students’ high familiarity with and use of Wikipedia, You Tube and MySpace
l ow familiarity with and use of social bookmarking, podcasts, (micro-)blogging and virtual worlds .
most of the frequently used technologies such as Wikipedia are used only for passive consumption of information .
when students where asked what form of elearning was the most important for them, the majority of students emphasised the
possibility to download lecture notes;
- opportunities for communication and discussion were unimportant for the majority of the students.
Year 3 Engineering and Social Work students Staff (lecturers and support) Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities Questionnaire survey n=160 (130/30, 80/80) Interviews: students (n=8), staff (n=8) Data collection: Jan-May 2007
“ [the lecturer] must have went [sic] on WebCT religiously every single night to answer people’s questions, but I think that’s the standard we all thought everybody else would follow” (Cathy, Eng)
“ marks for coursework, that’s one of the strange things. Some of the modules put them up and other modules put them up in a sort of announcement and link to a text file with all the results and then others put it in a section that’s supposed to be for marks... If they all did the same thing that would be much more useful” (Gordon, Eng).
“ the lecture slides are never good enough on their own to learn from, they are just meant to jog your memory and write notes next to, but [the lecturer] just reads out what’s on the slides and she doesn’t expand on it. Some of the things the lecturers do I’m kind of like well that’s just a cop out, that’s just because they can’t be bothered teaching us” (Gordon, Eng).
“ I am paying my student fees and so I notice when I am not getting something that I should be getting in terms of being taught something. [Lecturer] missed a lecture and didn’t make up for it in the end and put in [in VLE] a lecture slide saying ‘for this part of the course read that chapter, that’ll do’. Other times instead of teaching us he got somebody to come and talk to us and I was like that’s very nice but he should be teaching us the course first you know.” (David, Eng)
Preferences for different forms of communication may be governed by familiarity with tools
” Rather than me just going off and learning it on my own, something maybe involvements from course tutor setting it up. I’m not a great explorer to say well I’ll try this, I’ll try that. I will try it if it’s part of my learning, that’s not to say I’m not open to new experiences. ” (Harry, SW)
“ I usually use just Google and Wikipedia if I want to find a definition of something. I’m not always convinced about the authenticity of Wikipedia because I think people can post things up there without them being fully verified and so I usually check more than one [source] so that’s why I use Google because I try and find more than one source. ”
“ slow taking up technology” and didn’t consider blogs academically useful (Harry, SW)
“ It seems kind of bizarre to me that so many different people want to say what they did during the day and there’s so many people want to read it... I’ve never really read any [blogs] so I’m probably shooting in the dark here.” (Cathy, Eng)
Collaborative forms of learning (and tools) viewed less beneficial than lectures
“ I am not really bothered by what other groups are doing. I know what my group is doing and sometimes I think something else might be quite conflicting or put us off course… we work with case studies so we might take a different approach to it than the other group and for everybody to share their knowledge might cause confusion or make it harder”.
poor understanding of the nature and the affordance of technologies due to either lack of experience with these tools or using them in a limited way for a limited number of tasks
“ the chances are that the things we’d be doing would have been already explained in whatever notes we are getting and I could maybe see a reason to do that if we were breaking new ground and wanting to keep other people informed, but if the notes are there why not use the notes rather than trying to write our own notes”.
“ I hadn’t thought of that…it might be useful to go through the process and to keep a log of it or to keep updating. I suppose it could be used like that, it would make it a lot easier when we write the report later on”.
“ people in the class aren’t really up to speed as they should be in Blackboard. Some people are still wary of new technology, but it’s quite surprising sometimes it’s young people” (Harry, SW)
Lecturers’ poor ICT skills
“ Some of them look really kind of confused by certain things, even like overhead projectors and stuff like that. We’ve had lectures where the guy can’t figure out how to bring down the whiteboard or can’t figure how to get the projector to turn, they totally choke on it”. (Gordon, Eng)
“ I think it’s even harder for people who have been doing it for a long time, to get into it as well. Either they just get scared of it or the just don’t understand, then they think of just forget about it”. (Gordon, Eng)
Social technologies viewed as transient and not worth integrating into teaching (Eng lecturers)
“ In five years time the next generation of students will have their own little fad, they won’t want this year’s students’ fads…there is no point in saying let’s build MySpace in or blogging because it’ll be some other fad”.
Negative feedback from students (Eng)
“ I have showed [sic] a group of students Second Life. After we had all stopped laughing and we used it for weeks, and these are techy engineering types, they just said no and we don’t ever want to use that again. My experiment just showed that it’s [Second Life] is not just for the techy types, it’s for the ultra geeks who’ve got the time to put beards and hairstyles on and fly around the landscape”.
Social technologies viewed as being suitable only for “soft” disciplines or pre-university education
“ blogs and wikis might make sense in a lot of the softer subjects and primary and secondary education where they’re doing it on onsite training and they want to be able to discuss things with their peers and with their tutors plus keep records of their experiences within the school and share that with the rest of the class, but I think there’s only one of two enthusiasts [in the department] that are using tools other than what would be built into the VLE”.
“ The person who makes the most of it’s kind of been a hobby [for him/her]…because they like the technology and they are seeing benefits to their students”.
Students’ expectations and characteristics
“ I think schools have changed very quickly and are now using technology and PowerPoint and a whole range of things…so I think it would be the truth to say [younger] students come in with probably much greater knowledge and expertise and awareness of its [technology’s] potential than staff”.
Texting and instant messaging could potentially be used in teaching but currently they were “too crude for organised educational use”. (Eng)
“ I know that a lot of people think that you should put the two together but the academics see absolutely no reason for the students’ personal stuff to be linked in with their academic stuff because we are here, our job is the academic part…They could see it [the educational] on their phone [ie their personal devices] but it’s got to be kept separate”.
Social technologies have greater potential in workplace learning than formal learning
“ A lot of people will say they don’t have time to do it because of other demands, because of tension between research and teaching and I think for a lot they have go a particular way of doing things that they’ve been doing it over years and years and years delivering it in the same way and therefore it is hard for them to kind of deconstruct that, to loosen up about it”.
Digital literacy of staff – embarrassing if these don’t match students’ skills
“ I find that a little embarrassing because a lot of courses will have a high number of school leavers and I just wonder if people face the same problems as I do, if they’re sort of behind the students really who are coming out with advanced skills and at the moment I don’t think that we all necessarily have the advanced skills to match it”.
Trinder, K., Guiller, J., Margaryan, A., Littlejohn, A., and Nicol, D. (2008). Learning from Digital Natives: Integrating formal and informal learning . Final project report. Higher Education Academy, UK.
Margaryan, A., & Littlejohn, A. (2008, December 11). Are digital natives a myth or reality?: Students’ use of technologies for learning . Draft paper (currently under review in ETRD).
How can these findings be used to inform developments in GCU Schools?