Inline with our ongoing theme of Teaching the #TechGeneration, we wanted to point out a useful academic study from The University of Melbourne. The premise of the study:
The ‘Net Generation’ or ‘Digital Natives’ are born roughly between 1980 and 1994 and have been characterised by their familiarity with and reliance on information and communication technologies. A number of commentators have argued that the digital culture in which the Net Generation has grown up has influenced their preferences and skills in a number of key areas related to education. Some commentators have also questioned the extent to which Universities and their staff are equipped to meet the needs of this incoming cohort of students.
The study, which has now concluded, notes 6 important points as outlined in the Executive Summary:
- The rhetoric that university students are Digital Natives and university staff are Digital Immigrants is not supported.
- There is great diversity in students’ and staff experiences with technology, and their preferences for the use of technology in higher education.
- Emerging technologies afford a range of learning activities that can improve student learning processes, outcomes, and assessment practices.
- Managing and aligning pedagogical, technical and administrative issues is a necessary condition of success when using emerging technologies for learning.
- Innovation with learning technologies typically requires the development of new learning and teaching
and technology-based skills, which is effortful for both students and staff.
- The use of emerging technologies for learning and teaching can challenge current university policies in learning and teaching and IT.
You can review the full study along with the associated case studies and research at Educating the Net Generation.