Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Students now say they want more classroom technology, not less

It was only a few years ago that student opinion surveys found that contrary to popular belief at the time, they weren't demanding that teachers make use of classroom technology as much as we assumed.  Indeed, I recall reading an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education describing widespread student frustration with teachers who seemingly used technology for its own sake rather than having clear pedagogical goals in mind.  But times have changed; teachers have become more adept at making effective use of technology and perhaps as a result of that students want us to use it more according to a new study by Educause (as reported by Inside Higher Ed.).

More Technology, Please.

Professors are using more technology in the classroom than they were two years ago, and their students have a message for them: Keep it coming.

These are the findings are the 2012 ECAR Undergraduate Technology Survey, an annual study conducted by the research arm of Educause, a nonprofit that advocates for technology in higher education (ECAR stands for Educause Center for Applied Research).

This year’s study, which was released last month, reflects well on instructors. Faculty members, contra their reputation for being change-averse, appear to be adapting well to the expectations of technology-thirsty students, according to the authors. “More students than ever gave positive marks for their instructors’ use of technology,” they wrote.

In 2010, 47 percent of students said most of their instructors were using technology effectively. This year that figure was 68 percent.

At the same time students are hoping faculty members will not rest on their laurels. If anything the gains in satisfaction have bred more demand for various tools.

Amid their ambivalence over instructors’ use of technology in 2010, they did not yearn much for particular tools. In those days 32 percent of students wished their professors made more extensive use of the learning management system (LMS), 19 percent wanted more open educational resources (OER), 18 percent wanted more Web-based videos, and 15 percent wanted more game-based learning.

But as students' confidence in faculty technology deployment has increased, so has their desire for more technology. In the 2012 study, those numbers rose significantly. Now 49 percent of students want more LMS use, 57 wanted more OER, 46 percent want more videos, and 55 percent want more game-based learning.

“It could be a function of exposure,” said Eden Dahlstrom, a senior research analyst for Educause. “Students are more interested in these things because they hear about them, or have exposure to them in one class and are interested in having exposure to them in other classes.”

. . . .

The findings of the survey are based on a representative sample of 10,000 responses from U.S. undergraduates from all  types of institutions. The margin of error is 5 percent.

For Dahlstrom the biggest surprise of the survey was not the rates at which students were using various classroom technologies but the rates at which students felt unprepared to do so. Two-thirds of students said they felt adequately prepared to use the technology their professors asked them to use — a solid majority, yes, but that other 33 percent of students is still a lot, said Dahlstrom. And only a slim majority of students said their professors provided adequate training for the technology that would be used.  

Continue reading here.

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