Technology is helpful in moderation: How college students see classroom technology

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Modern college students are thought of as masters of technology, preferring all of their content to be presented digitally.   However, a study by Robert Kvavik found that while almost all college students have access to and are advanced with technology, they prefer only moderate usage in the classroom.

Kvavik surveyed 4,374 college students in 5 states.  Most were traditional students, with 95% aged 254 or younger.  He found that the amount of personal technology use among these students was growing exponentially.  

93% of the students owned a computer

100% had access to a computer

41% preferred only moderate IT in the classroom

Despite their abundant access to technology, modern students still enjoyed learning in a more traditional classroom.  They looked for professors that use technology in the classroom, but do not design their course around technology; they wanted technology to be used only as an extra asset.

The study also found that the main device students used for coursework was their computer.  They felt most comfortable with email, instant messenger, word processing, and web surfing. Many students felt that technology did improve their communication with both their professors and their peers.

However their mastery of technological skills did not improve their experiences with technology use in the classroom.  The main benefit of classroom technology was cited as convenience. This again reflects the modern college student’s desire for technology to be used as an aid, not as a replacement for an intelligent professor.

One student reported that “information technology is just a tool.  Like all tools, if used properly it can be an asset. If used improperly, it can become an obstacle to achieving its intended purpose.”

Story via Educause