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Comunicar Journal 34: Musics and screens (Vol. 17 - 2010)

Digital tribes in the university classrooms


Alfonso Gutiérrez-Martín

Andrés Palacios-Picos

Luis Torrego-Egido


The discourse stating that the profound changes in ICT of the last decade have also radically altered the way our students learn, and that they can all now be considered digital natives, is increasingly prevalent. However, this paper argues that these changes are not as immediate, automatic or beneficial as the dominant political and technological discourse on the benefits of ICT would have us believe, and that they give rise to many different situations that characterize university teaching and learning practice. Using the ratings of three Likert questionnaires on information processing and communication in three different environments (Moodle, Tuenti and the classroom itself), and applying multivariate techniques (factor analysis and cluster analysis), we have found four clusters: pro-ICT students, anti-ICT students, listless student and neutral student. The presence of such segments of students allows us to conclude that, although computers are nowadays taken for granted in Higher Education classrooms, we are perhaps overestimating both the real impact of ICT on teaching and students’ digital competencies, and that this false perception of reality benefits technology vendors but not methodological and pedagogic innovation, which can only be achieved through the necessary reflection on education matters from educational principles.


Higher education, digital literacy, teaching methodologies, cluster analysis, e-learning, social networks

PDF file in Spanish


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