Research: are there digital native students in Asia?

I found this research at the University of Hong Kong by David M. Kennedy and Bob Fox through Net Gen Skeptic. There haven’t been that much research on digital skills that left the VS or Europe. The paper concludes that digital natives exist, but with some important nuances.

In Digital natives’: An Asian perspective for using learning technologies, the authors investigated how first year undergraduate students used and understood various digital technologies.  The first-year undergraduate students at HKU do use a wide range of digital technologies.

Students use a raft of technologies for communication, learning, staying connected with their friends and engaging with the world around them. But the students are using them primarily for “personal empowerment and entertainment” and that the students were “not always digitally literate in using technology to support their learning. This is particularly evident when it comes to student use of technology as consumers of content rather than creators of content specifically for academic purposes”

Actually the research doesn’t tell us anything if they are truly digital natives in being much different or better in using technology. It does show that are still important caveats.

Abstract of the research paper that can be downloaded here:

Students entering universities in the 21st century have been described variously as digital natives, the millennial generation or the net generation. Considerable study has occurred around the world to determine the knowledge, skills, understanding and the purposes to which this group of individuals makes technology work for them. A number of researchers have begun to question some of the claims made for this group in terms of their ability to engage with and use technology for learning. To date there has been little information specific to the Asian learner and their use of technology. This paper begins with a description and analysis of a survey that examined the knowledge, skills and understanding of students entering first-year undergraduate studies at the University of Hong Kong. This description is followed by a discussion of the potential impact this has for the design of learning environments in higher education.

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