University Students as Digital Migrants


  • Cheryl Brown University of Cape Town



South African university students are on the frontline of a global world. Whether they are attending university in the rural Eastern Cape or urban Johannesburg, the social practice of using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has enabled virtual global mobility. The internet has opened up an opportunity for them to easily cross beyond the borders of South Africa and become part of an experience in another part of the world while the cellphone has facilitated this mobility anytime any place. This paper focuses on the students who are migrants into this digital world through analysis of their technology discourses and the role this has in how they engage with and within this digital environment. Using Gee‘s notion of big ‘D’ and little ‘d’ D(d)iscourses (1996), I have examined the meanings held by students in relation to technology. This analysis of language provides insights into students’ educational and social identities and the position of globalisation and the information society in both facilitating and constraining their participation and future opportunities.

Author Biography

Cheryl Brown, University of Cape Town

Cheryl Brown is a Lecturer in the Centre for Educational Technology at University of Cape Town where she teaches in the Masters in Education (ICTs) course. She has a PhD in Information Systems and is passionate about digital literacies and digital identities.




How to Cite

Brown, C. (2012). University Students as Digital Migrants. Language and Literacy, 14(2), 41–61.