More ed tech

Summer is the time in academia (at least in IT) to catch up on back burner projects and drafted blog post ideas. This was one such draft…


Students want more ed tech (bottom right of front page) in the April eCampus News cites a survey that suggests technology is key for students with hectic schedules. And there’s a widening gap between student and faculty technology preferences.

It was in response to stories like this, and my well-received involvement in the Teaching Circles this spring, that I offered informal lunch & learn conversations during the summer session. Some of these were less sparsely attended than others, and there was enough interest for me to commit to doing something similar in the fall.

One of the earlier sessions discussed the question of embracing instructional technology. I presented a scale created by Marc Prensky in his book Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning. A group of folks over at OSU’s Digital Union had read and discussed the book and shared their thoughts on their blog. They also kindly shared Prensky’s scale. Like the OSU faculty, OWU faculty were hesitant to embrace Level 5 as the ultimate goal.

As one Professor of Education put it, if technology doesn’t accomplish something that you can’t do without it, it shouldn’t be used. This became a good rule of thumb and a great segue into learning outcomes and their relation to technology.

The survey story above, however, speaks to student’s use of technology to do things like study at their own time and pace. Just as ed tech can assist instructors in managing the administrative tasks of teaching a class and assessing learning, it can also help students manage multiple assignments, due dates, and projects for multiple classes. We need to try to see things from their point of view too, and putting more content and guidance online helps.

“81 percent of college students use computers, social networking, and other tools to study” a similar CDW-G study finds. Ken Baldauf at Florida State University says, “They’re used to being connected to each other online all the time. Students live online; our classes need to live there as well,”¬†even for a residential campus.

I look forward to continuing this important conversation in the fall.

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