Marc Prensky, the education writer who made popular the phrase “digital native,” says there’s no reason a college freshman should be expected to know every function of even basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word. And Prensky’s claim is reinforced by a recent survey that shows even tech-savvy college students require more campus IT support than you might think.
Only four in 10 college students surveyed said they receive adequate support for education technology tools on campus, although 70 percent of respondents said they would prefer to take a course with “a great deal of technology” if proper IT help was provided, according to Instructors and Students: Technology Use, Engagement, and Learning Outcomes, released April 7 by higher-education research firm Eduventures and Cengage Learning, a Connecticut-based company that provides research, learning, and teaching solutions.
While college students are adept at manipulating complex social-networking tools through their iPhones and BlackBerries, along with video and computer games, “they’re not nearly as proficient when it comes to using digital tools in a classroom setting; this turns the myth that we’re dealing with a whole generation of digital natives on its head,” said William Rieders, executive vice president of global new media for Cengage Learning.
Prensky, who penned the 2001 article, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, along with three education technology books, said educators in K-12 schools and colleges have come to expect too much from students who grew up surrounded by digital toys and classroom tools.