Generational generalisations regarding how students interact with technology have been used in recent times to prompt calls for radical changes to the delivery of teaching in higher education. This article reports on a study aimed to investigate first-year students’ technology access and usage in two contexts of use: everyday life and academic study. A survey was delivered to first-year students across seven faculties of an Australian university during the second semester of the 2008 academic year. A total of 470 respondents met the criteria for this study. The findings suggest a wide diversity of usage of technologies with the usage rates of technology in academic study being generally lower than those in everyday life. These findings indicated that generational generalisations are not useful in informing the design of learning and teaching in higher education. However, there are questions regarding reliability of current survey-based methods to examine students’ technology use and the level of diversity discovered across both contexts of use. This suggests that further in-depth research into how students shape technology to suit their lives is required to gain a greater understanding of how technology can effectively support teaching and learning.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lori_lockyer/51/