Digital Natives As Preservice Teachers: What Technology Preparation Is Needed?

Lei, J. Digital Natives As Preservice Teachers: What Technology Preparation Is Needed? Journal of Computing in Teacher Education25(3), 87-97. Retrieved from

Lei points out that there is a dearth of lit on pre-service teachers as digital natives, and that they qualify.

Author argues that

“Most technology preparation programs focus on two major aspects:
technical skills and positive attitude (Zhao, Pugh, Sheldon, & Byers,
2002). The rationale for focusing on these two components is related to
teachers being digital immigrants:”

Interestingly, Pearsons Soc Media study puts the highest classroom use of soc media as amongst the immigrant demographic. The paper’s introduction points to the standard Prensky and related assertions (unsupported by recent studies, and undermined by analyses) regarding how digital natives learn, use technology to learn, and engage.

Given that digital natives are now training  as teachers, it seems reasonable, if the Prensky style assertoions hold, to assume that they will bring the learning characteristics ascribed to them to bear – multitasking, a preference for specific, visually oriented learning styles etc to bear. The authors state that there is zero evidence for this.

Survey results

“Almost all (96.4%) of the preservice teachers surveyed reported that they
started using computers before sixth grade, and nearly half of them (49%)
started using computers in kindergarten or before the end of third grade.
All participants reported that they owned at least one personal computer
and one cell phone. Almost all participants (94.5%) owned one iPod or
other mp3 player, and more than half (54.4%) owned four or more of the
five technology devices surveyed (personal computer, cell phone, iPod or
mp3 player, game console, and PDA). In terms of the access to technology,
this group of preservice teachers fit in the image of digital natives.”

Most participants spent betweet 2 and 4 hours per day on compouters. Again, a digital native motif.

Participants expressed strong beliefs with regard to technology, and it’s ability to contribute to better teaching (82.8%) and better learning (79.3%) in their classrooms.

“However, their confidence in using technology
was not as strong as what would be expected from the digital natives. As
shown in Table 1, about half (48.2%) of participants felt that they did
well with computer technologies. One third of them reported they were
“neutral” about this statement, and 22.5% of them did not think that they
did well with computer technologies. Their confidence was even lower
with their ability to solve computer problems. Only 13.8% felt confident
that they could solve most of the problems with their computers.”

There appears to be a misnatch between affordance appreciation, and confidence in execution.

“However, when it came to learning technologies that would help them teach in the future, all (100%) participants reported interest or strong interest”

We can assume interest and motivation on the part of educators. Laurillard makes this point, and severl other studies I’ve read tend to show that educators believe they are motivated to learn, and are motivated to learn about technology when they feel it can improve their practice

p91 -In terms of personal tech use, the teachers tended to devote the largest amount of time to social media, and all the participants maintained one or more social media profiles, but this is primarily social networking. Use of wikis, blogs, podcasting etc was far from comprehensive.

32.7 % said they had no experience with blogging, 40 had no experience of developing a wiki. Onl;y 3.6 % self reported expertise with blogging, and 7.3 se;lf-reported expertise with wiki development. (p91)

“They lacked the experiences and expertise in using Web 2.0 technologies with great potential for classroom application, such as blogging and wikis.” p 92

“As preservice teachers, they lack the knowledge, skills, and experiences to integrate technology into classrooms to help them teach and to help their students learn, even  though they fully recognize the importance of doing so.”

“Addfitionally, although they express an overwhelming appreciation of the affordances technology might bring to their classrooms, yet reserved attitudes to technologuy deployment were a characteristic of their responses.”  – p90,91

“Their reserved attitudes, on the one hand, showed that they had a mature understanding of the complexity of technology integration in schools, but on the other hand, revealed that they might not be active users of technology in their own teaching.” p92

“In summary, these findings suggest that, although digital natives as
preservice teachers use technology extensively, their use of technology
has been mainly focused on and related to their social-communication activities and their learning activities as students. As preservice teachers,

t”hey lack the knowledge, skills, and experiences to integrate technology
into classrooms to help them teach and to help their students learn, even though they fully recognize the importance of doing so”

The study recognises and posits a proviso here. The surbvey is of ore-service teachers, in their first year, and measures of confidnce may reflect that lack of training and experience. Still, together with the Finnish study, this represents a useful insight into teachers in training, and the gaps, lacunae and opportunities their use of and attitude towards technology indicate.

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A Summary of Teacher Attitudes to ICT Use In Schools

Oldfield, A. (2010). A Summary of Teacher Attitudes to ICT Use In Schools. Retrieved from Futurelab website:

“Lack of support on the use of ICT in learning environments. Teachers reported a lack of clarity and understanding on the benefit to learning and how to translate it from policy and the curriculum into their pedagogy. Other factors included lack of dedicated time to training and experimenting with ICT, insufficient class length and curricular restraints (Gulbahar & Guven 2008).”, 

Other reports cite a lack of support in terms of ICT implementation, but the tacit link between a lack of understanding of web 2.0 utility, and how to translate that from curriculum to practice is a first, in terms of my reading.

“Low levels of teacher confidence. Teachers report feeling unprepared on how to use ICT in the classroom to support learning. ICT was the second highest area identified as a ‘high development need’ by teachers in the TALIS survey (European Commission 2010). Teachers have also reported feeling anxious about using ICT in classes when they perceive that students know more about ICT than they do (Balanskat et al 2006). ” ,

The above is expecially interesting in the light of both the Finnish study, indicating trainee educators may not have the skills the digital native myth imparts to them, and the recent ECAR report, and work on digital native myths and unstructured laptop use. It looks like students are conservative, typically, in their tech use, don’t translate tech use well into learning, and need guidance and structured scaffolding in using tech in learning well. It also looks like teacher tech use may be a major driver of learner tech use – especially when used in context, and that students are requesting that type of teacher led, learning contextualised instruction.

Or to put it another way, from other papaers (ECAR, Digital Natives myth) it appears that students are conservative oin their tech use, and, typically, do not translate theor personal use of Web 2.0 technologies into a learning use. The onus is on educators to lead that use. The lecturer’s tech use has the highest impact on theor students tech use. So, support in designing and implementing scfoolding couild be useful hjere.

“Lack of skills and knowledge. Studies show that even for teachers who are

positive about the potential benefits of technology in the classroom, many do

not feel competent in their technical knowledge or ‘computer literacy’

(Gulbahar & Guven 2008). This is true for both those beginning their career

and the more experienced (Banaji et al 2010). Additionally, teachers who are

technically competent in ICT do not necessarily have pedagogical ICT

competence. Also teachers’ technical and pedagogical competence is highly

variable across different countries (Korte & Hüsing 2007, Balanskat et al

2006). ”

This is interesting. The Finnish teachers use of tech was narrow and conventional, the Pearson report indicates in teachers 35-44 year old teachers, and 45 to 54 year olds use tech more than the 25 to 34 year old demographic (who are the highest personal users of social media).

Oldfield, A. (2010). A Summary of Teacher Attitudes to ICT Use In hools. Retrieved from Futurelab website:

“Enablers to ICT use, as reported by teachers, include:

• Technical and pedagogical support. Support, as identified by teachers, means

technical help, administrative support, informal networks for learning, and

consistent training specific to teacher’s needs (IEA 2006).”

The Toolkit is intended to be a semi formal support, that allows and facilitates the creation of an informal peer network ( what the govt report terms a community of digital curators)

“Collaboration and sharing practice. Innovative use of technologies in a schoolis often the result of one teacher’s interest or creativity. Sharing practice,collaborative working and development of support networks have been A summary of teacher attitudes to ICT use in schools reported as important factors to help develop more innovative uses of ICT.

(Banaji 2010; IEA 2006).”

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Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice

Khe Foon Hew, Wing Sum Cheung, Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice, Educational Research Review, Volume 9, June 2013, Pages 47-64, ISSN 1747-938X,

The paper is a metastudy on the effects of Web 2.0 (also termed the read/write web) usage in learning. The authors surveyed several databases, selecting and deselecting articles on an empirical/quantitative basis. Papers had to have an experiment and control group (random or otherwise), assess student learning ( not spatial slkills, self reports of learning, or preferences) and the participants needed to be students. 27 artciles were eligible. No claims that the list is exhaustive are made. Only one study dealt with Twitter. Six studies dealt with Blogs.

They categorise technologies by whether they are synchronous, or asynchromnous, and by functionality (Online reflection, Online collaboration, Social Space, Repository, Social Bookmarking, 3d Immersive World). Twitter is located as a Social Space, and Blogging is located as Online reflections. A small quibble here would be to argue that blogging (as wikis are categorised) could also be online collaboration, and respository. Ditto with regard to wikis.

My interest at present in this paper is in Twitter and blog usage, so my focus and annotation rests on them. However, there is much besides in the paper of interest t he sections on podcasting and wikis are instructive, and useful reading for anyone wanting to use them in teaching.

“Blogs typically share the following features: individual ownership, hyperlinked post structure, post updates displayed in reverse chronological order, and archival of posts (Sim & Hew, 2010). Since blog posts are sequenced chronologically in much the same way as a diary, a blog is often used for reflective thinking (Bower et al., 2010). Blogs can also allow students to view the progress of their thinking (e.g., how their thinking has changed over time) (Ellison & Wu, 2008).”

In the 27, five technologies were studied. No longitudinal studies were found (consequently the criticism is possible that positive effects may have been due to novelty). Many studies reported no effect size.

Impact of using blogs.

“The primary pedagogy used in blog

studies was dialogic and construction, with an emphasis on the instructional strategy of peer critique and self-reflection.” Construction here is individual construction (project work), and dialogic discourse between participants, often structured as example, activity and feedback structure.

The blog papers are not perfect. The basketball study used blogging novices, and the lack of positive impact may have been due to novice issues. Hsu and Wang’s study, which found no effect, had a teacher change during the stiudy course, which may have effected the outcomes. The Arslan repoirt, which found a positive effect, also gave student’s access to additional material via blogging, which may have caused, or contributed to the positive effect.

The students in the blog studies tended to work individually, feedback came from peers or instructors, and there then tended to be a reflection by the student before the finished artefact was produced. A very tentative conclusion might be that  “– the use of blog appears to have a positive

impact on student writing and critical thinking ability (e.g., Arslan & Sahin-Kizil, 2010; Salam & Hew, 2010; Wong & Hew, 2010) rather than reading, or learning a physical skill such as the techniques of shooting a basketball.”

However this is very tentative. In the positive study, it’s not clear if both groups had equal prior ability. In short, the metastudy evidence gives no indication of a negative effect in any of the studies, and one flawed study gives a positive effect. More work needs to be done before a conclusion can reasonably be drawn.

It’s also the case that in other studies that show benefit, it’s not clear if the benefit comes from blogging, or other materials (eg podcasts, scaffolding gyides and materials).

Impact of using twitter

This is based on just one study. A two group non random selection, out of 108 students, 65 twitter students, 53 in the control, over 14 weeks. No effect size was reported.

The students GPA was assessed, and no difference between the groups was found.

“specifically, twitter was used for certain activities, including: (a) to continue class discussions after regular class meeting, (b) to enable shy students to ask questions, (c) to discuss materials pertaining to a book read, (d) to provide academic support (e.g., posting information about the location and hours of the tutoring center), (e) to organize study groups, and (f) to complete two optional and four required assignments.”

Control group students used Ning. The only other difference was that the experimental group formed study groups.

Students on twitter asked more questions, faculty had to monitor and be involved with the twitter feed regularly, and students interacted with each other greatly round academic matters. Ning students asked fewer q’s and interacted with staff less. The experimental group had a larger GPA.  It is not possible in the study to attribute how much varianve was due to twitter usage, and how much from a staff desire to be more engaged. The positive effect seems reasonably robust 9though I need to know more about the studt group formation…)

Additionally, how the technologies are used, re blogs, may have a considerable effect, and be something of keen importance in useful pedagogical deployment. Scaffolding, and guidance and structures that support reflection, and peer review appear to have helped achieve positive effects with blogging.

Overall, study evidence is fairly weak, and we are unable to assess causal relationships. No negative effects have been found, and some positive.

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Confronting the technological pedagogical knowledge of Finnish Net Generation student teachers

Teemu Valtonen , Susanna Pontinen , Jari Kukkonen , Patrick Dillon ,
Pertti Väisänen & Stina Hacklin (2011) Confronting the technological pedagogical knowledge of Finnish Net Generation student teachers, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20:1, 3-18, DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2010.534867

The paper is based on a survey of 74 first year student teachers in a Finnish teacher training school, at a rural university, in their first semester. They are asked to design a lesson using ICT in some format of their choice to deliver a lesson.

It;s concerned with analysing the assertions of Oblinger and Prensky with regard to digital natives, and is attempting to discover whether those surveyed (who fit the borth date requirements for digital nativity) are imbued  with the technological skills and learning attributes we are told to expect in them, and design for. It;ls of interest if teachers have these skills as a function of their age, as this might reflect on ICT implementation.

Finland has a policy for ICT implementation throughout the educational system.

The autors use the TPCK concept (Technological pedagogical content knowledge) to analyse teachers ICT use in their teaching training projects.  It’s a blend of knowledge about pedagogy, subject knowledge, and knoweldge about technology that can enable the determination of the best pedagogic and technological solutions for teaching in particular contexts.

“Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) adds a technological dimension to PCK. In other words, TPCK implies: (i) flexible skills to navigate between and integrate content, pedagogy and technology in learning situations and to employ technology in teaching; (ii) the ability to present the topic by means of technology; (iii) the ability to pinpoint the challenging issues of the topic; and (iv) the facilitation of the learning process by using technology.” p5

Kirschner uses this study as a composite part of his argument to debunk the digital native myth. It is not the only paper, and taken as a whole, his argument and evidence is more broadly based. But a criticism of this paper is that it takes 74 first year training teachers from one location, in their first semester, in what appears to be a rural context, who are not randomly selected, and draws general conclusions from them.  And they are tasked in very open and non directed way to create a lesson with an ICT aspect. It hardly seems like a perfect sample for the purpose…

  • They also use, centrally, a categorisation scheme for people;s relationship to technology – Innovators who try new tech first, becasue of their interest in tech.
  • Early adopters: see the benefits of tech and adopt qquickly both personally and professionally
  • Early majority – see tech benefits, but value parcticalities more. So, they will wait a while and guage new tech before implementing.
  • Late majority: don;t trust their own abilities, and wait until tech becomes household
  • laggards: wary because of economic or personal experience reasons.

This classification is used to determine the degree of digital nativeness in the target group.

The study selects specific criteria of digital nativeness/ net generationness to explore. A willingness to take on new technology, to the degree that they are innovators, they will have lived their whole lives surrounded by technology, and this has “allegedly affected their way of thinking, acting and learning.” The authors specifically highlight that natives are supposed to be able to leverage technology, especially social media, for learning, or, in this instance, for teaching.

The paper argues that in their module design, students typically used a small range of resources, websites and software, and take this of evidence of lack of familiarity. This seems an unwarranted leap, perhaps. That the students didn;t design for extensive and broad use in their first semester. However the questionnaire claerly shows that, on average, there is not a huge willingness on the part of students to engage with new technologies.

“The mean value of the subscale ‘Willingness to experiment with new technologies’
was quite low – 2.20 (SD = .80) – indicating that this group of student teachers
were not very active users of technology, do not actively follow the development of
technology, and do not perceive that they use technology more than their friends.”

Teachers describe limited technologies and usages in their modules. Social media are rarely mentioned, and then only passively. Moodle, their LMS is barely mentioned at all,

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Do Learners Really Know Best? Urban Legends in Educatio

Kirschner, P. A., & Van Merrienboer, J. G. (2013). Do Learners Really Know Best? Urban Legends in Education. Educational Psychologist,48(3), 169-183. doi:10.1080/00461520.2013.804395

The paper sets out to debunk three urban myths in education. It takes an evidence based approach, and comprises an account of numerous data driven studies, cognitive load explanations and metastudy analysis accounts to debunk perceived urban myths in education theory and practice.

Specifically, The Digital Native myth (and references the digital native myth paper I read as evidence), the Learning Styoles myth, and the myth that modern learners are saelf starting, self directing and autonomous, needing guides who facilitate their learning.

Authors locate the digital natiove myth and characteristoics amongst numerous papers – Prensky, Oblinger, Veen, Veen and Vrakking,  which argue dig natibves are creative , playful problem solvers, adept at multitasking, garnering information from multiple channels, who can do mu;ltiple things simultaneously. They are “self directed learners and digital thinkers” Vreen 2006, and the authors state these assumptions are grounded, at least parially in the sense that these children are highly capable of managing their own use of technology.

They argfue Prensky;s description of digital native characteristics is based on his rationalising phenomena he had observed, rather than careful study. He saw children being surrounded by technology, and formed assumptions (they really understoood what they were doing with technology, they were using tech effectively and efficiently, good education would be none which facilitated these assumptions). Prensky’s argues we are engaging with a new generation who process, engage, and enquire in a radically different way.

He presents no evidence for these assumptions and rationalisations, no description of mechanisms, no data, or case studies to inform them.

The Digital Native Myth, Margaryan, Littlejohn etc, annotated by me previously, indicates they don’t.  (They argue digital nativity is part of the mix in determining tech use, but not the main driver in ed, which is lecturer and institutional use of tech, exspecially VLE use, discipline studied has an effect, as does age to a degree, and students will tend to be conservative in tech use if not led to it by teachers). A criticism here is that the nuanced and sophisticated motivations and factors behind tech uptake are a function of the qualitative analysis in Margaryan et al. That said, on the quantitative side, it seems clear that large numbers of students are not using tech in their education, and are conservative in their breadth of technology use. Kirschner’s assertions about the paper are probably sound.

A standard finding in reports critical of Digital Native assertions is that these so called natives are not aware of the extra functionalities the technologies they use can translate into learning environments., and training and scaffolding in tech use is required. ECAR mirrors this from the student side – conservative technology preferences, and a desire for tech use to be driven by educators, and not students. Report after report reaches these conclusions.

Author’s posit a butterfly effect, but I’m not certain how underpinned this effect is by evidence. The idea is, essentially, that students following links will achieve a fragile knowledge of a subject characterised by tangentsn and disjointedness.

The Finnish net generation study (along with Margaryan, and Bullen et al 2008) shows that (amomngst a population of traing teachers of the net generation) tech tarnsfer and familiarioty is not what would be expected of supposd natives. (I’ll be annotating these two papers subsequently. The range of software used was limited, and leveraged use, for curation etc, was also limited. Teachers proved to be largely passive users of technologies. Further studies (Selwyn 2009, Bennet, Matton and Kervin 2008) indicate passive, uninspired use of technology amongst natives is quite standard, and find no evidence for a generational shift.

Assumptions about digital literacy amonsgt students are misplaced. It;s key here to note that Kirschner et al are not saying students should not be digitally literate, but that assumptions that they are are misguided.


An aspect pof the digital native myth is that natives are highly efficacious multitaskers. Again, no cognitive or neurological evidence is proffered for this. No data is put forward.  Two assumptions underpoin this. That when students are observed doing several things at once, that this is multitasking, and that they are doing it efficiently. It is suggested that younger people have neurologically altered to achieve this. As Aleks Krotoski says, there is zero evidence that this is the case.

Empirical studies show that multi tasking is actually a form of attention splitting, and that the splitting action involves cognitive processes interfering with each other.

What would be good here is actual data showing this happening.( actually – this follows on)

It appears that genuine multitasking isn’t happening, and that efficiency is undermined by the capacity to rapidly switch between tasks. Kirschner quotes numerous studies showing increased mistakes, even amongst experts, when task splitting is required. This is also the reason why we ban mobile phone use while driving. Regardless of someones age. At the very least splitting means learning takes longer.

“Ophir, Nass, and Wagner (2009) observed that heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and from irrelevant representations in memory. This led to the surprising result that heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely because of reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set. (p. 15583)”

Authors conclude by stating that the digital native does not exist (here I would qualify, does not exist as a necessary category, though some individuals may exhibit some few of the characteristics), the technological repertoire that is imparted to them is not occuring in practice, the multitasker doesn;t exist, and learning environments which attempt to enforce these conditions may damage learning.

Learning styles is dealt with elsewhere, and I will engage with the papers supporting the autors theses separately. Suffice to say that metastudies don;t support learning styles as impactful on learning outcomes. There is little evidence to indicate learning styles have an impact, and that evidence may only hold for extreme cases, there is significant evidence indocating that l;earning styles have no effect, or a negatove effect when catered to, and several interestng studies that show positives for the deployment of a single relective strategy.

This section, as interesting as the argument is, is not directly related to my research topic, so I’m going to delay an analysis, and continue on to the thord myth –  Learners as self-educators on the internet.

“These self-educators can self-regulate and self-direct their own learning,”.

The theory is typically presied on the abundance and obsolescence of information in the internet age (a standard Connectivist meme), and assertions about the shortening half-life of infpormation. The authors seem to be targetting Connectivist thinkers here (though there may, of course, be other thinkers who assert this as a basis).  The authors argue a distinction must be made between information obsolesence and information growth. More information/knowledge does not necessarily equate to obsolesence, and, in many fields, the core comopetencies and knowledges are expanding, but not discounting current and previous realities. Entropy still holds. Thermodynamics are unassailed. Plath still wrote the Bell Jar. Neither side of the argument engage in a meaningful quantitative argument here, but the onus is probably more on the side who are arguiong that knowledge and information have short half lives to provide meaningful substantiation.

Many of the same, or similar assertions that inform the digital native myth inform this one. Students are capable of seraching ands sifting expertly themselves the increased and abundant sphere of information. Digital literacy is assumed and imparted to the student population.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to assess the author’s claims about the inability of students to search for information effectively here. The papers they qupote are not explicated substantively, and a thorough and meaningful analysis of their claims would involve reading each paper. They don;t detail the empirical or quantitative details of the studies they quote.

The authors invoke prior knowledge as a key element in accurate search, arguing that itps presence or absence is a key determinant in search efficiency and accuracy. . Again, they quote research results, but not in an in depth manner, make claim evaluation difficult. They give individual instances of seacrh mistakes, but these can hardly be considered evidence on their own. Once again, an analysis and judgemnt of their claims would involve reading each paper quoted.

Their claims for second order shared control, and the paradox of choice, as well as the potential issues in self direction require study of the quoted papers. It’s impossible to form an opinion of their conclusions here without reading the relevant papers (in previous sections I had read some of the papers).

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The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools

Fini, A. (2009). The technological dimension of a massive open online course: The case of the CCK08 course tools. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5). Retrieved from

Survey with 83 respondents

“The situation regarding technological skills was very similar (N = 83): 24 were experts/ICT professionals, 41 were power users, 18 were normal users, and no one self-identified as a beginner.” – so, no novice respondents.

“OOCs claim to be open; nonetheless, there are at least two barriers to access. Participants are required to have some basic competencies, specifically ICT skills and a good level of English proficiency.” A pretty much universal point made in all studies. Consistently Connectivist commentators suggest this is an issue. McAuley and Kop make the same assertions. Differing commentators however respond differently to the same observation. Some state this is an implicit assumption, or condition, and leave it at that, and some respond by calling for scaffolding (eg Kop).

” formal students committed to completing assignments more than informal students did.”

13 students attended the course for credit. This, again, is backed up in other papers – those formally assessed engaged more than those who didn;t (by a factor of between 7 and 9 in percentage terms). The paper theorises multiple possibilities here, and points to time as the most significant factor on the part of informal students. It argues that informal students may not be interested in formal structures, or only want an overview, but provides no evidence to support these possibilitites.

Ultimately, this is something of a problem for Connectivist MOOC literature. There is little empirical engagement with barriers to participation, and the possibility that it may be a large, and solveable issue remains significantly uninvestigated.

The primary motivation listed (47 of 83) was professional development.

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Patterns of Engagement in Connectivist MOOCs

Milligan, C., Littlejohn, A., & Margaryan, A. (2013). Patterns of Engagement in Connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching9(2). Retrieved from

29 survey respondents

Paper notes a relative dearth of studies due to the novelty of the field, and a lack of empirical data. – “This has led to the emergence of a rather unusual research base where a small amount of empirical research, published in niche journals and peer reviewed conferences, is supplemented by a large body of more anecdotal and reflective research published outside the traditional peer-reviewed journal system. ”

It notes Fini’s study (2009) suggests that a centralised tool – a daily newsletter was well received, but other tools were less so (eg Moodle sicussion forums). Digital literacy and English were identified as key skills.( Kop. 2011), makes a similar srgument, key literacy strategies must be in place in order to make learning likely.

“Active participants recognized that full participation entailed more than merely broadcasting ideas (creating tweets and blog posts) and had developed strategies to encourage connection with other participants through commenting on other blogs.”

“The largest category of engagement identified in this analysis was of lurkers (13 of 29). These participants were actively following the course but did not activelyengage with other learners within it. ”

Lurkers identified value in the course, in gathering resources that were contextialised, or organised,, some decribing it as “hugely beneficial”.

4 were “inactive within the course, but actively shared ideas from the course externally” – i.e. they used non course media (eg Facebook) to share ideas.

“Finally, a group of five participants (all of whom self-identified as lurkers) silently participated in internal networks but did not contribute to the course in any way. Their behavior appears to be motivated by lack of confidence” Lack of confidence here is a key aspect and feed in for my research. Some underconfident lurkers felt thay hadn;t the expertise to add to the conversation, some felt they were using this as a step to further engagem,ent in later MOOCs. Some noted that their engagement leveles and learning correlated – “These silent lurkers saw a connection between level of participation and their success as learners, as exemplified by this quote from one participant: “I would have felt I accomplished more if I had personally networked and participated more” ”

Fini, A. (2009). The technological dimension of a massive open online course: The case of the CCK08 course tools. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5). Retrieved from

Kop, R. (2011). The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,12(3), 19-38. Retrieved from

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