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ERIC Number: EJ1008441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0360-1315
The Digital Natives as Learners: Technology Use Patterns and Approaches to Learning
Thompson, Penny
Computers & Education, v65 p12-33 Jul 2013
This study investigated the claims made in the popular press about the "digital native" generation as learners. Because students' lives today are saturated with digital media at a time when their brains are still developing, many popular press authors claim that this generation of students thinks and learns differently than any generation that has come before, but the evidence to support these claims is scarce. This study used a survey to gather data on the technology use of university freshmen, the degree to which they identified with the claims being made about their approaches to learning, and the productiveness (in terms of focused attention, deep processing, and persistence) of their approaches to learning. Valid surveys were received from 388 freshmen at a large Midwestern land grant university. A factor analysis was used to identify meaningful patterns of technology use, and descriptive statistics, analysis of correlations, and extreme group t-tests were used to explore the relationships between technology use patterns and learning characteristics. The findings indicate some positive correlations between use of digital technology and the characteristics ascribed in the popular press to the digital native learners, and negative correlations between some categories of technology use and the productiveness of student learning behaviors. Overall, however, the small to moderate relationships suggest a less deterministic relationship between technology and learning than what the popular press writers claim. (Contains 11 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A