Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 467–484 | Cite as

How digital native learners describe themselves

  • Penny Thompson


Eight university students from the ‘digital native’ generation were interviewed about the connections they saw between technology use and learning, and also their reactions to the popular press claims about their generation. Themes that emerged from the interviews were coded to show patterns in how digital natives describe themselves. Participants in this study agreed with some of the claims on a surface level but also described a deliberate and strategic approach to managing the distractions of technology in order to pursue their educational goals. This qualitative view of digital native students, as expressed in their own words, adds detail and additional nuance to the growing body of quantitative data that challenges the popular conception of the digital natives as a homogeneous generation with a common learning style.


Digital natives Technology use Learning strategies Qualitative interview 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Educational Psychology & Educational TechnologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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