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ERIC Number: ED523938
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 179
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-8103-9
Digital Adults: Beyond the Myth of the Digital Native Generation Gap
Tufts, Debra Roben
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University
The digital native has been the darling of market research and a major focus of education consternation throughout the first decade of the 2000s. These are the children and young adults the literature describes as those born after 1980 and who exhibit high technical savvy, particularly as it pertains to information and communication technology (ICT) use (Jenkins, Purushotma, Clinton, Weigel, & Robinson, 2006; Palfrey & Gasser, 2008; Prensky, 2001a, 2001b; Roberts, 2009; Tapscott, 1999, 2009; Tapscott & LaPrade, 2007; VanSlyke, 2003). Despite the extensive interest in the digital native, the research introduces a wide generation gap. It places increasingly ICT-savvy youth on one side of the gap and adults born prior to 1980, with little or no ICT savvy, on the other side. Such a generalization is problematic because the literature focuses primarily on the youth--one side of the gap. It is further compounded by a paucity of research and understanding surrounding increasingly ICT-savvy adults. This research addresses the generalization and the associated gap through an exploratory study of technologically savvy digital adults. It is built on the digital native research and shares two primary assumptions with the digital native theorists: (a) ICT practices exist and are identifiable and (b) ICT social norms exist and are identifiable. A web-based survey was administered to ICT-savvy educators to explore how they identify as ICT savvy. The 175 responses provided evidence that adult ICT practices and social norms were congruent not only with the two assumptions, but also replaced several misconceptions about the digital generational gap. Analysis also produced a third finding--ICT self-efficacy exists, was identifiable, and was found to be a major motivator for these digitally savvy adults. ICT self-efficacy was reflected in the participants' confidence, competency, and beliefs that ICTs enable them to be more effective and socially connected with others. The research concludes with a call to action for scholars and practitioners to stop bifurcating these digital groups and begin focusing on these digital citizens as a collective, by honoring their decisions to embrace new technologies in social ways. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A