The Students’ Choice of Technology A pragmatic and outcome-focused Approach
While students are increasingly bringing informal practices of social media and other digital tools into an educational context, the students’ capabilities to use these to support their learning is debated. In educational technology research students are portrayed as digital experts, who are multitasking and using digital tools in new creative ways, but equally, they are reported to be uncritical users with a limited understanding of how to use technology to support learning.
In this chapter, I discuss the students’ choice of ICT tools for supporting their learning and their problem and project-based group work. Based on a study carried out on 5th-semester students in the programme Communication and Digital Media (CDM) at Aalborg University (AAU), I analyse the students’ motives and rationales for employing various tools. The study shows that students mainly choose mainstream commercial ICT tools e.g. Facebook, Google services and Dropbox, which are familiar to them and easy to use. I argue that the students’ approach to choosing technology is a pragmatic and outcome-focused approach. The students’ pragmatic approach to technology doesn’t fit into either the positive nor the more negative portraits of students’ use of technology. I argue that this pragmatic approach makes it (even more) important to study students’ self-directed use as to understand their digital practices; to give the students a better understanding of their own practice; and provide us as educators with the ability to challenge their use.
KeywordsNetworked Learning Problem Based Learning Students’ use of Social Media ICT Facebook
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