Revisiting the digital divide(s): Technology-enhanced English language practices at a university in Pakistan
With the rapid penetration of technology in the lives of students, it has become important for educators to look for opportunities to enhance students’ engagement and achievement by integrating technology in education. However, deciding which technologies should be included is a big challenge for higher education institutes, particularly in developing countries with limited financial resources, such as Pakistan. As students’ non-educational use of technologies shapes their academic use of technology and learning process (Swanson & Walker, 2015), integrating students’ preferred technologies can help fulfil their educational needs and expectations. This paper investigates the digital practices of undergraduate students in a public university in Pakistan and examines the impact of gender, study major and medium of education on the use of digital devices by students. The data is drawn from 316 responses to an online survey, administered online. The results of the study reveal that although a substantial proportion of the students had access to digital tools such as smartphones and computers, there was limited use of them for educational purposes. The technology most extensively accessed by undergraduate students for this purpose was mobile phones. Use of university-provided computers and bringing their own computers/laptops to campus were much less popular choices. Further, most students were not sufficiently comfortable with their digital skills to use their devices for educational purposes, although many were interested in getting training in how they could do this.
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