Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Students want professors to use technology, but only if it is used well

In the current edition of Educational Quarterly, v 30, n 1 is "Think Small! A Beginner's Guide to Using Technology to Promote Learning" by Beverly King, UNC Pembrook. While not an economist, she writes some good advice for economists wanting to introduce technology and explains why and how it should be introduced. I enjoyed the article and learned a few things and the section on assessment points to an ECAR report pointing out the title of this entry. I intend to read this fully later, but the observations of 18000 students across 65 institutions seems to be well reported. "... use technology, but only if is used well!" How critical is that? How many of you have suffered through a presentation where the speaker is clueless about the technology? It is painful and distracting.

"A major finding of the 2005 ECAR study is that students with the highest IT skill levels acquired many of them as a result of course (or program) requirements (p.19)." Our responsibility as faculty is to use technology well and to integrate it into the curriculum if it is important for the students to learn it for their future performance. (Our ITL Research group here has surveyed our students, might be interesting to compare results.)

R. B. Kvavik and J. B. Caruso, Study of Students and Information Technology: Convenience, Connection, Control, and Learning (Boulder, Colo.: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, Research Study, Vol. 6, 2005)

1 comment:

  1. Steve,

    Thank you for alerting us to Beverly's article!

    I couldn't agree more. As the program manager for the HP Technology for Teaching Higher Education philanthropy initiative, I am always encouraging grant seekers and grant recipients to start with the REASON for using technology in the first place.

    To that end, HP funded the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI to create a short, practical guidebook for faculty. "Measuring Learning: A guidebook for gathering and interpreting evidence" is in draft form and is available as a free PDF download at I think you'll see that it supports the basic premise of her article...

    Best regards,

    Jim Vanides