Page: 301-313 Author: STAUDKOVÁ, H. Key words: digital technology, learning in higher education, didactic functions, learning process, self-directed learning
The study deals with the ways in which digital technologies are exploited in university education. It focuses on students’ own views, their ways of working and approach to learning with the support of digital technologies. The research orientation was based on the premise that the key aspect of university education is first and foremost what students really do. This idea is the central concept of student-focused research.
Research projects in this line of inquiry have shown that students prefer a balanced deployment of digital technologies in teaching. They have not confirmed the idea that technologies could replace
teachers. Digital technologies fulfil the didactic function of “bearer of content”. In this sense they have great potential, but on the other hand it is evident that students’ approach to information is often driven by the desire for speed and immediate use, and not for the achievement of understanding, the quality of results and “academic relevance”. The way that digital technologies are deployed is significantly influenced by whether an internal or external motivational orientation
is present; the regulatory background may be characterised as a compromise between personal needs and the expectations of the educational system.
The empirical part of the study presents the interim results of the author’s qualitative research focused on MA students in the humanities. The author offers these results in two dichotomic frame-
works. They present on the one hand individual factors (motives, preferences) and on the other institutional influences (requirements, demands), i.e. the main factors directly affecting ways and strategies of using digital technologies. Because these cannot be easily and strictly separated from each other, however, they are distinguished on the basis of Dewey’s principle, i.e. “There’s all the difference in the world between having something to say, and having to say something.” On the level of having to say something the leitmotif is the effort to save as much time as possible. Students try to minimise time costs and maximise efficiency. Deployment of technology of this type may be characterised as fast, brief and pragmatic. The level of having something to say stimulates a larger range of uses, such as listening to online lectures and above all own creative formation and communication of knowledge which often go beyond the boundaries of formal education.