Digital Native/Digital Immigrant Divide: EFL Teachers’ Mobile Device Experiences and Practice

 

The purpose of this study was to examine how Thai EFL high-school teachers view and use mobile devices (such as smart phones) in educational settings, and if the age-based digital native/digital immigrant divide would highlight any differences in responses. The participants were 55 Thai EFL teachers in 8 schools of different sizes in Southern Thailand, who were split into digital-native and digital-immigrant subgroups during data analysis. Participants completed a 35-item Likert-type scale covering a range of topics related to mobile devices in the EFL setting including their ability, experience, school/personal policy, instructional utilization, and whether they supported mobile devices as a learning aid. The results showed that while digital native teachers consistently responded more positively towards the benefits/uses of mobile devices in EFL teaching/learning than the older digital immigrant teachers often at a significant level, all teachers -regardless of age- agreed on the benefits and promotion of mobile devices as EFL learning aids. Results of this study expand the knowledge base of EFL teachers’ mobile device experiences and practice while raising awareness of significant differences between digital natives and digital immigrants, and recommendations are made for policymakers, schools, and teachers.