Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 531–555 | Cite as

The digital literacy debate: an investigation of digital propensity and information and communication technology

  • Angelique Nasah
  • Boaventura DaCosta
  • Carolyn Kinsell
  • Soonhwa Seok


Research suggests students’ use of information and communication technology (ICT) may be more a matter of digital literacy and access rather than a generational trait. We sought to identify ICT preferences of post-secondary students (N = 580) through a Digital Propensity Index (DPI), investigating communication methods, Internet practices and the creation of online content. Age, gender and socioeconomic status were examined as factors which might explain why students use ICT. Results suggest age is a factor in ICT use but that it is not the most important consideration; the gender gap and gaps between socioeconomic groups in terms of ICT use may be closing. The findings raise a variety of implications for institutions training pre-service teachers, curriculum developers designing instructional materials and educational leaders developing ICT policy for schools.


Digital literacy Digital natives Digital propensity ICT Age Gender Socioeconomic status 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelique Nasah
    • 1
  • Boaventura DaCosta
    • 1
  • Carolyn Kinsell
    • 1
  • Soonhwa Seok
    • 2
  1. 1.Solers Research GroupOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.The University of Kansas—Center for Research on LearningLawrenceUSA

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