JISC Study on Students and Technology

Another interesting item from JISC: The Student Expectations Study (I previously wrote about JISC in ticTOCs: Journal Tables of Contents). This study, conducted in the UK, had in-depth interviews with 27 students between the ages of 15-18 in a focus group setting and a follow-up survey of about 500 students with ages between 16 and 18.
The survey covered several topics:

  • Current levels of ICT [Information and Computer Technology] provision at school/college
  • Expectations of ICT provision at university
  • Any difference between expectation of ICT provision and that which is provided by HE [Higher Education] institutions

The full report is a 49-page, 1MB PDF document filled with interesting tidbits about these students’ vision of technology. To quote the conclusion (p. 29):

The audience for our research thinks that technology should:

  • Support established methods of teaching and admin[instration];
  • Act as an additional resource for research and communication;
  • Be a core part of social engagement and facilitate face-to-face friendships at university.

These principles run across all groups identified in the online research. Those who are leading edge users or have high use of ICT at school are perhaps more technology savvy and open to its use, but they do not want technology to encroach on their learning or social experiences.
Fundamentally, this age group suspects that if all learning is mediated through technology, this will diminish the value of the learning. [Emphasis mine]

The last point, that the survey respondents view mixing technology and education with a jaundiced eye, is an interesting one for our profession, and for education more broadly.
Update 13 Sept 2007 See also the The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007 for a similar study of U.S. undergraduate students.

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