Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and university freshmen

Samaradiwakara G. D. M. N.

Abstract


Young people who grow up with the Internet are called the Net generation and they
might be more impressively technologically literate, more accepting new technology and
more technically facile than the former generations. The Net generation is very fluent
with ICTs to participate and meet the demands of the 21st century. In this context, this
study is an attempt to see the level of ICT literacy of new entrant undergraduates to Sri
Lankan universities by examining their usage of digital technologies and communication
tools, self rated skill levels on digital technology related activities and finally their
perceptions of the impact of ICT on academic work in the universities. The study is
compiled with data from questionnaires, placed with 1601 first year students, in thirteen
universities of Sri Lanka. Questionnaire for the study was designed to gather data in three
major areas; background Information, access to ICT and perceptions on the impact of
ICT on academic experience. The data collected from the questionnaire was analyzed
using the Minitab® Release 14.1 and the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Scientists)
13.0 for windows, occupying a variety of statistical techniques. Descriptive statistics was
used to produce statistics for each variable or for subsets within a variable. Chi-square
test, Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance test and Friedman test were employed
was occupied to reach the objectives of the study. The results reveal that there is a rapid
trend towards becoming university freshmen as much as be digital literate. Most of the
first year students use the computer applications and have indicated that they are much
more skillful with them. Results also reveal that ICT usage frequencies and the self rated
skills of ICTs are greater for the male students than females. First years who belong to
urban communities believe that they are more skillful and use ICT more frequently. ICT
skills and usage amongst students of the Arts streams are somewhat lower than the rest.
The majority of freshmen believe that using ICTs is likely to help them to improve their
learning in the university and are willing to use ICTs to search for information for
academic purposes. They wish to have more access to Internet/E-mail facilities and ICT
related equipment such as laptop computers, pen drives. It is recommended that more 

facilities and ICT related training are provided for freshmen, and at the village level
literacy is improved by providing more facilities.


Keywords: ICT literacy, digital technology skills, use of ICT


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