Mobile devices in higher education: A pending issue in multidimensional media literacy
Prensky’s concept of the ‘digital native’ received many criticisms, fundamentally as it was considered too optimistic, but also determinist and reductionist: knowing the age of a person does not determine the digital practices they may perform, nor their behaviour. In our previous research young people obtained very low scores in all media literacy dimensions except technology, demonstrating the need for comprehensive media literacy and contradicting the myth of digital native. It was shown that they had technical and production skills but were lacking in others of equal importance such as aesthetics. Young people do not conceive their lives on and offline separately; for them everything is a continuation of personal, social or academic life. Therefore, why not introduce into higher education the technologies with which they spend most time, that is, mobile devices? Tablets and mobile devices are their personal interaction and social connection spaces. Including them in classrooms may therefore be useful in removing the barriers that separate the personal from the collective, the rational and the emotional, learning and entertainment, the classroom and everyday life outside it. As mobile devices are considered cultural tools that are transforming sociocultural practices and structures in all spheres of life university must naturally form part of this consideration. Including mobile devices in higher education could be innovative and efficient if full advantage is taken of the optimum features of new technologies and new communication practices: creativity and participation, teamwork, continuous learning and open and online collaboration, multimedia and multimodal communication, interaction and the search for implication and motivation. The aim of our R&D&I project ‘media competences of citizens in emerging digital media in university environments’ (2016−18), is to compare how mobile devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.) are used by young people outside the academic arena as opposed to how they are used inside university, with a view to detecting innovative teaching/learning practices that may then be advocated and disseminated within higher education.