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Nantais, Ph.D. Student Glenn Cockerline, Ph.D.

We use the term digital students to refer to those born between 1984 & 2001. This generaKon goes by a number of designaKons, most notably digital naKves (Prensky, 2001). There is some variaKon in the starKng year for this generaKon, we have chosen 1984.

285 students in a Post Baccalaureate B.Ed. Program Age range = 20 47 Mean Age = 24.9 Female = 70% Married = 40%
Daily Gme spent on (minutes): 122 - computer Kme @ Home 77 - watching TV 64 - computer Kme @ School 45 - listening to radio 30 - talking on the phone 34 - listening to iPod 17 - travel Kme to classes 10 - gaming

The digital student: Myth or Reality?

Our data:

supports the noKon of digital students, who have a general level of comfort and familiarity with digital technology

indicates that there is a wide variaKon in experKse in applicaKons o\en used in educaKon

Social Networking (2.58*) Music Listening (2.53) Online Banking (2.22) Music Sharing (2.02) YouTube (2.02) Digital Photography (2.01)

Other 30 - text messages per day 8.4 - hrs of paid work per week

indicates that the use of applicaKons depends on the context of the students specic interests & the sudents ecosystem

shows that variaKons occur based on student age, gender, and academic background

Our data suggests that these applicaKons separate digital students from older ones.

Examples of confounding issues; Age & the Digital Student Older students are more likely to build web sites or wikis (but do older students produce more than younger ones?)

Assuming exper9se, when li=le or none exists, can lead to leaving some students behind. Scaolding is not only desirable but necessary.

The Digital Ecosystem

* on a 4-point scale (0 3)

Gender of Digital Students Females are less likely to play tradiKonal and/or role playing games, however are more likely to use social networking sites.

Frequency of Use

eMail (2.90*) Google (2.83) Word Processing (2.80)

300 250

Academic Minors & Majors vs Digital Students Psychology students are more likely to use presentaKon so\ware; Phys. Ed. Students are less likely to use word processing.


200 150 100 50 0 Never Rarely Use Occasional Frequently email Word Processing Google

Having Children Students with children are more likely to use record keeping applicaKons.

The use of various applicaKons and the interconnecKons between them seem to suggest that any digital applicaKon needs to be viewed within the context of the students digital ecosystem. What does an applicaKon contribute to a students social context or learning environment? Technology use, while ubiquitous, is also very personal. Within any classroom or online environment, it is not a macer of simply using ICT, but embedding them with course outcomes and integraKng them with the needs of diverse learners in a pedagogically sound way.

The expectaKon that all students are equally digitally literate ies in the face of classroom reality. Teachers are quite aware that students are individually dierent; that each student has his/her own digital competencies and interests. CollecKvely, however, these digital students create a digital ecosystem, as rich and diverse as any natural ecosystem. Whether in a tradiKonal face-to-face classroom, online, or in a blended format, our courses are frequently based on assumpKons about students digital competencies. Being aware of the limita9ons and diversity of students' digital competencies can lead to increased success and sa9sfac9on for both faculty and students.

Podcasts (0.52*) Movie ProducKon (0.52) Audio ProducKon (0.45) Building Websites (0.40) Social Bookmarking (0.36) Audio Conferencing (0.25)

Frequency of Use
200 180 160 140 Movie ProducKon Audio ProducKon Podcasts Building Websites Audio Conferencing Social Bookmarking


120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Never Rarely Occassional Frequently

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