Digital stepping stones: exploring Pasifika students’ uses and views of digital media and their effect on the transition to postsecondary education and employment
The purpose of this study is to examine the uses and perceptions of digital media held by Pasifika students and how these relationships affect their transition from secondary school to further study or employment. This study utilised the views and experiences of forty one Year 13 Pasifika students from a secondary school in Auckland. The use of a mixed methods approach combined multiple techniques. A quantitative approach, consisting of a survey and utilising correspondence analysis to analyse the data explored how access, confidence, competency and perceptions of digital media affected the students’ transition process. A qualitative approach, consisting of two student focus group sessions and an interview with the school Careers Advisor, was analysed using Inductive analysis. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods provided the basis for triangulation, allowing the exploration of both sets of data, in order to gain a deeper, richer understanding of the relationship the students have with digital media. The findings from this study indicated that Pasifika students that use digital media, especially computers and the internet more frequently have higher levels of certainty about their transition. These students indicated higher levels of confidence with utilising computers and the internet, especially in regards to researching their transition options. Students recognised the benefit of a high level of digital literacy and experience, but often showed uncertainty in utilising a wide range of newer digital media. Access to computers and the internet was not seen as an issue by Pasifika students in this study, although access to newer technologies is limited for many of these students. Although being confident with computers and the internet, students often showed confusion and a lack of competency when utilising websites relevant to their transition. This study reinforces the need for guidance and support during this transition phase, with the recommendation that this support must include clear instruction and guidance in regards to the digital media tools that are being offered to students. This has become increasingly important in an age which increasingly relies on the use of digital information and an ever-increasing range ways for students to access, store and share this information.