Exploring the Use of Digital Technologies and Devices in Student Learning

Alan Donnelly, Dr Helen Kay, Dr Luke Desforges, Professor Guy Merchant & Judit Garcia-Martin.
@adonnelly1990

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.8


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Short Abstract

This paper will provide an overview of the main findings of Sheffield Hallam’s Digital Technologies Survey. It will explore students’ use of digital technologies; their views, confidence and expectations of using them for their academic studies; and their access to, and use of, mobile devices and computers.

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Detailed Outline
Digital technologies and web 2.0 tools refer to web-based technologies which promote “personal publishing, ease of use, interactivity, collaboration, sharing and customisation” (Cochrane, 2006, p. 144). These technologies include blogs, wikis, video tools, social networking services and multimedia sharing tools. Studies in Australia and the United States have found that university students commonly own and use mobile devices to access digital technologies (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Oliver & Goerke, 2007; Martin & Ertzberger, 2013) and technologies are increasingly being used to support and enhance learning.

The University’s strategy to 2020 outlined the importance of digital resources and technologies to support students’ academic, professional and social development. The strategy recognises the need to “capitalise on new and emerging technologies that help to deliver high quality teaching, research and operations” by “focusing on user needs”.

This paper will share the key findings of Sheffield Hallam’s Digital Technologies Survey, which was sent to new undergraduate and postgraduate students between October and November 2014. The purpose of the survey was to explore the digital technologies and devices that students use to support their learning. This paper will examine students’ use of digital technologies; their views, confidence and expectations of using digital technologies for their academic studies; and their access to, and use of, mobile devices and computers. The study was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Leon, Spain.