Survey: ‘Digital natives’ need more IT support

A new survey claims to show a 'perception gap in how adept students are versus how savvy they are presumed to be.'
A new survey claims to show a 'perception gap in how adept students are versus how savvy they are presumed to be.'

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.…Read More

New test measures students’ digital literacy

Certiport's new iCritical Thinking Certification helps higher education instructors gauge students' abilities.
Certiport's new certification exam helps instructors gauge students' 21st-century skills.

Employers are looking for candidates who can navigate, critically evaluate, and make sense of the wealth of information available through digital media—and now educators have a new way to determine a student’s baseline digital literacy with a certification exam that measures the test-taker’s ability to assess information, think critically, and perform a range of real-world tasks.

The test, iCritical Thinking Certification, created by the Educational Testing Service and Certiport, reveals whether or not a person is able to combine technical skills with experiences and knowledge.

Today’s students need to be able to think critically and effectively solve problems while using technology, Certiport explains—going beyond simply searching for information. They also must evaluate the legitimacy of the information, put it in context, and then apply problem-solving and decision-making skills.…Read More