Making use of students' digital habits in higher education: What they already know and what they learn
Varieties of digital practices have increasingly become part of people’s everyday lives and people, in general, use these communicative practices on a daily basis, mostly for social and entertaining purposes. As to higher education, researchers have pointed out that digital technology could be a useful tool in how to learn more effectively, if it is based on the abilities that students bring with them into higher education from their everyday life (for example, Buzzard et. al., 2011). In this case study, we explore the issue of students' digital practices in everyday life as well as in higher education, in a teacher training programme at a Swedish University. The aim is two-fold: on the one hand, to provide knowledge regarding students' everyday experiences of digital practices and the ways in which these are utilised in higher education; on the other hand, to contribute to the understanding of the ways in which higher education contributes to challenging and developing students' digital skills. Twenty-nine students from teacher training programmes participated in the study by answering a questionnaire. The results show that the students’ digital habits are not being used or acknowledged in higher education, except for when it comes to their Teacher Training Practice (TTP). Furthermore, the results also show that higher education contributes to students’ digital skills. This, we argue, could be of interest for teachers and researchers in teacher training programmes and for teachers in primary to tertiary education, in developing education activities with digital technology based on pupils’ and students’ digital habits. We can also see that the study can inspire other teachers in higher education, where the idea of using students’ digital habits perhaps is not yet taken into consideration.
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