Digital natives: Exploring the diversity of young people's experience with technology
The concept of 'digital natives', based on assumptions of high technology literacy of the current generation of students, has triggered extensive discussion and debate in relation to technology use in higher education. Whilst several previous studies have demonstrated that generational views of technology literacy and engagement are not useful to the planning of future teaching and learning developments in higher education (Helsper and Eynon 2009; Kennedy et al. 2008; Bennett and Maton 2010), the digital natives discussion has eventually led to research offering a greater insight into the reality of students' engagement with technology. From the non-empirical foundations of the digital natives concept through initial quantitative studies and now towards new in-depth qualitative studies, a greater understanding is being developed of the diversity that exists around students' adopt and use of technology. This chapter reports on a study which aims to further the understanding of the motivations, attitudes and practices of young people in relation to technology. Eight student case studies are presented which provide an in-depth exploration of the stories behind students' choices and uses of technology across the contexts of their everyday life and academic study.
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