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The casual observer of the student population at Queens College (an urban, public, predominantly undergraduate campus) is awed by the ubiquity of technology, offering students the ability to communicate and participate in learning anytime, anywhere. They text, email, facebook, and tweet all day long. They have nearly instant access to the digital tools that have been touted as changing teaching and learning at all levels of education. With over 80% of our population born in or after 1980, there is an assumption that these digital natives intuitively know about and prefer digital tools for learning. With this in mind, and a number of technology-and-learning initiatives in the works, we asked our students about their perceptions and use of technology. Responses to two surveys administered in spring 2010 and 2011 indicate that our student population resembles undergraduates nationwide in reported access to the Internet, and reported ownership of computers and other techno-gadgets. In addition, reported use of Web 2.0 technologies is on a par with national trends, as are reported video-game playing and social networking habits. Also on par with the national average is the counter-intuitive fact that over 50% of our students prefer moderate amounts of technology in their courses. Our students’ preferences for traditional approaches to learning invites further probing into why their preferences tend to discount the plethora of digital tools at their fingertips. We report findings from our dataset, which includes responses from 2,400 student participants, and describe how these findings are shaping our approaches to faculty development.


This work was originally published in Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, available at



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