Is There a Digital Divide Among University Students?
Under the term "digital native" (Prensky, 2001), it is widely accepted that generations born into lives heavily influenced by extensive and intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) have similar patterns in interpersonal communication as in the learning process.
Describe the use of ICT’s by university students, analyzing their presence in their everyday activities and in the development of control of their learning process.
Personal survey research conducted using a random sample (N = 920) of students enrolled in the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) in the academic year 2012/13. Students were selected according to gender quotas and area of studies. The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS v.20.0.
The results show a significant use of ICT in everyday life e.g. the use of smartphones and households’ availability of various devices (pcs, laptops, tablets). No significant differences according to gender or age were found. Regarding access to the virtual platform at the University, it shows significant differences in their use depending on their area of study: humanities and social science students use it mainly for administrative tasks; students in the experimental and technical degrees also use it for support for the training process, collaborative work or to participate in forums or blogs maintained for communication between students and teacher.
Rather than the generation or gender they belong to, the use of ICT is associated with the assignment of students to a particular branch of study. However, our study does not reveal whether this is attributed to the background in the use of technology among professors, which is perhaps weaker among professionals in the humanities and social sciences.