The Research

Phase 1 (2006-2009)
In the first phase of this research project we conducted a thorough review of the literature and research on the connection between generation and technology use. Our review revealed that there is no strong evidence to support a connection between generation and technology use and that the popular characterization of the “net generation” as being sophisticated users of technology who are, among other things, expert multitaskers, collaborators and critical thinkers is not supported by research.

Data Collection
Data was collected from the BC Institute of Technology in 2007 and 2008. We began by  conducting focus group interviews with a cross-section of students and developing a conceptual framework based on an analysis of the interviews.  A survey was then developed, based on this framework, and administered to a random sample (n=454) students at BCIT.

Instruments

Data

Phase 2 (2009 – 2012)
In the second phase of this research project we are extending the investigation to other institutional contexts and digging deeper into some of the issues that emerged from the first phase. The issues we are examining include the pedagogical implications of social and educational uses of ICTs, how  students and faculty think  ICTs should be used in their teaching and learning, and whether there are similarities between different types of institutions, both locally and globally, in how students and faculty understand these issues.

Research questions for Phase 2:

  1. Do postsecondary students distinguish their social and educational use of ICTs?
  2. What impact do students’ social use of ICTs have on postsecondary learning environments?
  3. What is the relationship between social and educational uses of ICTs at in postsecondary education?

Data Collection
To date, data was collected from a range of students at BCIT using semi-structured interviews and a short survey. Data analysis is underway.

Instruments