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Comparison of Student and Academic Technology Use Across Disciplines

A new report by Educause has revealed some interesting insight in to how students and faculty are using technology in the classroom. With technology such as Learning Management Systems (LMS a.k.a. CMS), response devices (“clickers”), and web tools (Google Apps, Youtube, etc.) being used daily in classrooms around the nation, both students and faculty have come to expect such technology to be used in classes, albeit for different purposes. Excerpts from the article below:

Some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Students and faculty use course management systems much more frequently than any other technology.
  • Professional students use classroom response devices (“clickers”) and Education students use e-portfolios more often than students in other fields use either.
  • Faculty in all disciplines rarely use blogs, collaborative editing tools, and games and simulations.
  • Students and faculty have different expectations and use technologies in different contexts, which can create tension and misunderstandings between the two groups.
  • Finally, we must explore potential differences in how students and faculty view and use academic technologies — they are two very different populations who use these technologies in very different contexts.
  • Second, we must understand their experiences in the contexts in which they live them. Arguably, one of the most pervasive contexts is the structure of academic disciplines that permeates American higher education.

Technology is often considered an enabler, a way of surpassing our natural limitations. In the classroom, educators employ technology with the hope that it will enable students to learn more effectively and teachers to teach more effectively. Although the empirical research is often mixed or contradictory with respect to technology’s effectiveness and the reasons for that effectiveness,1 undergraduates expect faculty to use technology and use it well.2

We must untangle several complex ideas to understand this phenomenon:

  • First, we must unpack which technologies students and faculty use, and how often.
  • Second, we must understand their experiences in the contexts in which they live them. Arguably, one of the most pervasive contexts is the structure of academic disciplines that permeates American higher education.
  • Finally, we must explore potential differences in how students and faculty view and use academic technologies — they are two very different populations who use these technologies in very different contexts.

Read the full report at:

http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/AComparisonofStudentandFaculty/213682

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