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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/413

Authors: Thompson, Robert W.
Supervisor(s): Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes
Examining Committee: Dr. Elizabeth Childs
Dr. Doug Hamilton
Dr. Kathleen Bortolin
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Issue Date: 17-May-2023
Abstract: This Doctoral research project began in an era of discordant debate. Education Consultant Marc Prensky had published two short papers on the cusp of this new century (2001a; 2001b). In the first paper (2001a), Prensky outlined the learning preferences and proclivities of a young cohort yet to enter the education system – but who would enter said system with an engrained proclivity for, and skillset in, the uses of digital media. This cohort he labelled ‘Digital Natives’. In the second paper (2001b), Prensky outlined the preferences and proclivities of some educators extant in the system – who were less interested and adept at uses for digital media. This cohort he labelled ‘Digital Immigrants’: arguing the challenge in this new education culture would the Digital Immigrants. Digital Immigrants responded harshly, often with vitriol, to Prensky’s description of education’s future. As a teacher at a secondary school in Canada, this researcher was in the right place-time to watch the transition to digital media in hallways and classrooms. This research project resulted, starting in 2013: seeking the adaptations needed to achieve success for schools, teachers, and students. The research questions for this study were: (1) What characteristics, preferences, and/or proclivities make Generation Z different from earlier generations? And (2) What changes to the education systems should be considered, given the technology proclivities of this “Generation” Z? The research method was exclusively Qualitative, to ensure data collected were the unrestricted thoughts of participants rather than the selected, restricted ‘multiple choice’ responses engrained in Quantitative research. The findings of the research potentially enhance our understanding, and process, for education in this century and beyond: a time when both students and instructors are likely to be ‘digitally native’. Those findings include but are not limited to strong inferences: that ‘digitally native’ learners now inhabit our education system in significant proportions, both as students and soon as instructors; that these learners are the ‘Digital Natives’ projected by Prensky; and, that the education system must adapt to this phenomenon in progress quickly and comprehensively in order to meet the needs of students, the education system and our culture overall.
Graduation Date: Jul-2023
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/413
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