In the last month, Puji and I, with the help of Anjar (a super-helpful student pursuing his Master’s in English Education at UNNES), have collected more than 500 survey responses from secondary students in the area. We’re learning a great deal from them about when and how they access technology, for what purposes, where they learn about new apps, what they wish they were learning about in their school’s technology classes, and their perceptions about social media.
This morning, I took a look at the first 325 responses, and confirmed some unsurprising hunches from this initial batch of data, namely that these students:
- Overwhelming access the internet via mobile phones (312 of the 325 have their own phones);
- Consider WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram the three most popular applications – more than 90% of them use these apps.
At school, this first batch of young people told us that:
- They use a computer or laptop at school once a week or LESS (79%);
- They use computers at school mostly for looking up information for assignments (81%), typing up assignments in a word processing program (78%), and create presentations (59%);
- They learn about the history of computers, components of hardware, and how to create documents, presentations, blogs, and spreadsheets in their computer classes. And, they wish they learned more about coding and app design, video production, and website creation.
We’ve barely scratched the surface about what their open-ended responses reveal, but we’re starting to get some understanding that our respondents have the following perceptions about technology and social media:
- They have mixed feelings about whether or not social media can be considered sites where young people can learn;
- They worry that technology can be addictive, that it allows the spread of negative, false, or hoax-related information
- They appreciate the ease of communication, finding information, and making new friends that technology affords.
By the time we finish collecting survey responses from the final school, and hold the 7 focus group discussions that will help us gain even more insights into what these youth have to teach us, we’ll be swimming in data. I can’t wait to learn more about whether and how culture, society, religion, gender, age, and other social factors might be shaping their use, access, and ideas about digital literacies and the role technology plays in their lives.