Digital natives and digital technologies in construction education

No Thumbnail Available
Other Title
Kiroff, Lydia
Puolitaival, Taija
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Unitec courses
construction education
digital natives
Bachelor of Construction (Unitec)
construction students
BIM education
BIM (building information modelling)
Kiroff, L. & Puolitaival, T. (2019, 28th - 29th November). Digital natives and digital technologies in construction education. Paper presented at “Talking Teaching 2019, Diverse Learners, Inclusive Teaching” (Ako Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence), Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland.
Digitalisation is changing both our personal and professional lives. Although the construction industry has been seen as the least digitalised industry sector, digitalisation is emerging also there in the form of Building Information Modelling (BIM), virtual reality, and cloud and mobile computing. Several reports discuss disappearing, changing and new emerging jobs as a result of digitalisation. These new and changing jobs need new competence sets. This research explores the concept of ‘digital natives’ in construction education context and investigates the potential benefits and challenges that the 'digital natives' have when it comes to using professional digital applications. Ultimately the aim is to support the students in the transition from simple applications to professional applications, so that by the end of the degree they are confident in learning and working on using new professional applications on their own. Two courses in the Bachelor of Construction degree, a level 5 first year course which uses online/freeware applications and a level 7 third year course which uses full industry applications, were used as a case study. Some of benefits recorded were increased student engagement with the course by creating an environment conducive to learning and encouraged collaboration among students for problem solving. Some of the challenges were some downtime to get to grips with the different technologies and apply them to class tasks and assignments, also some plagiarism issues were detected due to easy file sharing. When the ‘digital natives’ were quick and did not hesitate to use the online/freeware applications, they were much more insecure when approaching the full industry applications, and needed a considerable amount of more guidance and time to understand the application interface, basic functions and the process. DELEGATE TAKEAWAY Insights in the concept of 'digital natives' and how being a 'digital native' benefits the students when they use digital technology. On the other hand also understanding of the possible challenges that they still might face. This especially in construction context, but applicable to also many other disciplines.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at