Digital mismatch: Expectations and realities of digital competency amongst pre-service education students

Jennifer Duncan-Howell


Pre-service education students entering university can be categorised broadly into two distinct groups, those who are coming directly from secondary school and those who are not. The second group can be quite diverse, ranging in age, academic and/or work experience. However, what both of these groups share is a digital expectation and they expect upon completion of their studies to be more digitally fluent than when they entered university, they expect to be taught via a range of digital technologies and they expect to use their digital skills throughout their personal and professional lives. These expectations have been either largely ignored or have failed to be understood by universities, resulting in a mismatch between student expectations and their experiences. However, the teaching staff within universities may be ill-prepared to meet these demands, either due to being non-users or exhibiting the same or lower levels of digital fluency as their students. The mismatch between student expectations and the reality is highlighted by an empirical case study involving undergraduate students enrolled in pre-service education degrees at an Australian university. The study will present clear evidence that students' digital expectancy should be considered when planning and improving learning environments.

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