WHERE ARE THE ‘DIGITAL NATIVES’? – AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF GERMAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARD INTERNET-BASED LEARNING
TU Dresden (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Digital media, especially Internet-ready computers play among young people more and more an important role in their spare time. The high use of the Internet, as evidenced by relevant studies is largely associated with entertainment related uses. In both questions, the situation apparently differs only slightly from observations from the time of the introduction of the Internet at school in the late 1990s*. Given the ever increasing penetration of online technologies in everyday life of young people our study examines the question whether the so-called "digital natives"** may be found at school - while using the computer as a learning tool. Many publications on the so-called net generation directly link the usage of media with the computer-related attitudes of young people without examining these phenomena in detail. A thorough and empirical examination of these settings to confirm the construct of "digital natives" is thus indispensable.
With support by the European Social Fund the research project UnIbELT*** of TU Dresden was enabled to interview 600 high school students**** in the German state of Saxony via an online survey. In particular, such computer-related attitudes were collected that can be seen as personal characteristics affecting internet-based learning. The article first introduces the descriptive analysis of the online survey: Information on the demographics of the sample, the PC-using behavior, the motivation to learn, the computer-related attitudes (FIDEC from INCOBI-R)*****, the learning-related self-efficacy****** and the use of existing E-Learning are reported. Subsequently a critical comparison with other relevant studies on media use is presented. In particular, the results of the four attitude scales used with personal experiences from the "Questionnaire for the differentiated collection of computer related attitudes" (FIDEC) are in the foreground.
The particularity of this investigation is the use of attitude scales of the FIDEC from the INCOBI-R package with the user group "high school student", as in the literature there are indications so far only for the user group "students." The presentation of the underlying attitude model follows a more detailed examination of computer-related attitudes as a function of gender and educational success of students.
The results presented to the leaning with computer and online media are consistent with studies published on this topic. However, the analysis of computer-related attitudes goes beyond the specific studies and comes to interesting insights. Thus the attitude to the computer as a learning tool is positive, even significantly more positive than to the computer as an entertainment medium. This gap between the computers as an entertainment medium versus as a learning tool is within education-oriented samples like in our study group very small. In conclusion, therefore, the significance of this result is discussed and implications for educational distant groups.
* Cp. the Europe-wide survey IN-TELE of Frindte et al.
** "All those who were born after 1980” (Deekeling, 2009), ergo all students who currently attend high school.
*** Hofmann & Spalteholz: learn how to study web-based.; in print
**** This study included high school students in grades eleven and twelve which correspond to ages from 16 to 19 years.
***** Richter et al.: A revised version of the Computer Literacy Inventory (INCOBI-R)
****** Pintrich et al.: Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ)
Keywords: Digital natives, e-learning, computer related attitudes, media usage, high school, university.