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Linda Price - Learners in the 21st Century - are they any different?
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Linda Price - Learners in the 21st Century - are they any different?


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While technology has increasing influence throughout higher education, there is still much to be learned about its effective educational contribution. However many teaching interventions appear to be …

While technology has increasing influence throughout higher education, there is still much to be learned about its effective educational contribution. However many teaching interventions appear to be technology-led rather than responding to identified teaching and learning issues. This technologically deterministic view tends to mask important issues such as our role as educators in the 21st century and what we expect our students to be capable of as graduates in an increasingly global world. University teachers’ views about and approaches to teaching are more influential in the success of a technological application than knowledge about how a specific technology works. Thus developing a scholarly approach to using technology is more essential than technical competence. Fundamental to this is an understanding of teaching and learning. Transforming learning is a complex activity. It requires sophisticated reasoning about the goals and purpose of any intervention and how an educational programme may be designed. So although technology can enable new forms of teaching and learning to take place, it cannot ensure that effective and appropriate learning outcomes are achieved. Instead, we need to reflect on our views about teaching and learning and whether our approach helps students achieve appropriate goals. While technology makes a valuable contribution to supporting student learning, it is not the technology itself that is the agent of change: it is the teacher

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  • 1. Learners in the 21st Century: Are they any different? Linda Price
  • 2. IntroductionThe generation gap and„Digital Natives‟Underlying assumptionsAvailable evidenceConsider the implications
  • 3. Net generation, millenials &digital natives• Net generation 1977 – Generation Next 1997 (Tapscott, 1998, 2008)• Digital Natives appear after 1980 (Prensky, 2001, 2001, 2009)• Millenials - Born in or after 1982 – 1992 (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005)
  • 4. The „Digital Natives‟ Position • Young people have grown up in a technology-rich environment – part of their lives • Use technologies to find information; to communicate with/meet friends; for entertainment, etc. • Expect good access to the Internet and often interact with more than one technology at a time • They “think and process information fundamentally differently” from their predecessors John, Birdsall Open University photo library
  • 5. The „Digital Natives‟
  • 6. The „Digital Natives‟
  • 7. The „Digital Natives‟
  • 8. Prensky‟s view Let‟s look at Prensky‟s views on digital natives and digital immigrants.
  • 9. The Assertions…. Young people… have similar access to, and familiarity with, a wide range of technologies• can to exploit a full range of technologies while studying• use ICT for educational and personal/social activities more or less identically• Younger students „know‟ the digital world, others have to learn it Where’s the evidence?
  • 10. Boring butimportant…Before we overhaul our education systems……..let‟s examine the evidence
  • 11. Some research findings• Krause, Hartley, James and McInnes (2005) – 1st year students were spending 4.2 hours per week on the web – Only 3% said they ever used it for study purposes• Oliver and Goerke (2007) – high proportions of students (> 90%) were online – but few used it for study purposes
  • 12. Kvavik (2005)Surveyed 4,374 freshmen & college seniors – frequent users of email, instant messaging, word processing and Internet browsing – use varied by students‟ majors• High levels of use & skill did not translate into increased preferences for technology use in the classroom – 31% would like „extensive‟ use in the classroom, – 26% would prefer classes with limited/no technology• Two factors influencing students‟ preferences – previous positive classroom experiences with technology – previous technology use and skill generally.
  • 13. Caruso and Kvavik (2005)Investigated 18,000 students technological experiences – ICT permeates all aspects of students‟ lives. – However, only comfortable with a core set – less comfortable with specialised technologies• Similar findings to Kvavik (2005) – high levels of use & skill did not translate into technology preferences in the classroom – students had moderate preferences for technology as a courses supplement
  • 14. Kennedy et al. (2008)Surveyed 2,120 incoming 1st-year Australian university students. – many were highly technology-savvyBUT beyond computers, mobile phones, email - patterns of access and use of other technologies were variable. “While some students have embraced the technologies and tools of the „Net Generation‟, this is by no means the universal student experience.”
  • 15. Smith, Salaway & Caruso (2009)ECAR Study of Undergraduates and ICT – USA (30,616) Widespread use of „mainstreamed‟ technologies – Web browsing – keeping in touch with friends, – university/course websites• Fewer contribute to wikis, use podcasts/webcasts, etc. – Few (5%) use SN sites to communicate with instructors – Students‟ majors reflect technological skills and preferences
  • 16. Ipsos MORI (2007)Student Expectations Study – HE applicants in UK– High levels of access to and use of a variety of technologies, but most undertook only a limited range of activities– Expectations of how ICT can be used are based upon their experiences at school– Separation of „academic‟ and „social‟ worlds
  • 17. Activity Take a pen or pencil and write your name Now take the same pen or pencil and draw a picture of the face of the person next to you.
  • 18. CIBER/UCL Study(2008)– Digital Literacy and the Google Generation – UK – Very little evidence of generational shifts – Found no improvement in young people‟s information skills – Young people exhibit “an uncritical trust in branded search engines to deliver quick fixes” – „Get by with Google‟ – few knew how to search effectively and how to evaluate the information found “Are the information literacy skills of young people appropriate for the demands of higher education?”
  • 19. Jones et al. 2010• Investigated ~550 students at 4 different types of institution• Net generation (<20) at distance education university used social networking sites less than students at face- to-face institutions• Study domain and institution had greater influence in patterns of technology use for net generation.• Significantly – technology use for social/leisure and study purposes differ
  • 20. Study Purposes Social/Leisure Purposes (Jones et al. 2010)
  • 21. Jelfs and Richardson (2013)• Surveyed 4,066 distance education students• 60% 60-69 year olds responded online compared with 46% 21-29 year olds• Students in all age groups reported broadly positive attitudes to technology.• Older students were more likely to adopt a deep (understanding) approach to learning
  • 22. Access to technologiesTechnology 21–30 30–39 40–49 50–59 60–69 70 and overDesktop computer 43.2 54.8 66.4 70.6 68.5 70.0Laptop computer 86.0 81.7 77.2 74.6 66.8 52.3Personal digital 3.9 7.0 6.8 7.9 4.9 2.7assistantMobile phone 74.4 66.1 70.7 70.1 68.3 56.3Portable digital 45.5 42.8 37.1 34.3 28.7 16.9music playerUSB memory stick 75.3 68.9 72.4 74.3 67.2 45.3Handheld games 13.0 10.7 10.2 6.8 3.9 1.6playerConsole games 25.0 18.8 15.8 7.0 3.4 1.5player Jelfs & Richardson (2013)
  • 23. The Assertions…. Review• Students have similar access to, and familiarity with, a wide range of technologies X• Students can to exploit a full range of technologies while studying X• Students use ICT for educational and personal/social activities more or less identically X• Younger students „know‟ the digital world, others have to learn it X Evidence is lacking…
  • 24. Summary of theevidence• Scant evidence exists to illustrate that younger students “think and process information fundamentally differently” from their predecessors• Age is not the sole determinate in technology use – particularly for education• Institution, study domain and previous experience are influential
  • 25. Digital immigrants – „moral panic‟? Bennett et al. (2008) likened the debate to an academic form of „moral panic‟ – arguments couched in dramatic terms – appeals for urgent action and fundamental change – polarized, relying on oppositions between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, – each person is fixed by their generational position• Leads to a deficit model for professional development – older teachers will never bridge the generational gap (Bayne & Ross, 2007).
  • 26. Implications forteachers• CAUTION: don‟t assume that education has to change just for the „net generation‟• Technology is not the defining factor for educational change – it is only part of the wider context• Underpinning pedagogy and design of education is far more influential (Kirkwood and Price, 2005; Price and Kirkwood, 2008; Kirkwood and Price, 2008; Price and Kirkwood, in press)
  • 27. Implications for policy makers• Should reject stereotypes regarding younger and older learners• Both younger and older students hold broadly positive attitudes to technology – age is not a discriminator• While students‟ use of technology is integral to their experience – it is more important to consider the context in which technology will be used and how it will support students in their learning
  • 28. The future…. • The focus is still on • developing intellectual abilities: discernment, analysis, evaluation, synthesis, etc. • learning how to learning independently • coping with uncertainty, etc. • supporting learners in a variety of contextsThe challenge is knowing how to use technologypurposefully to help learners achieve these goals