Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
The posting below is a brief report of a study of what Canadian Post
Secondary teachers define as success for their students and how they
use technology to achieve it. The article is reprinted with
permission from: Net Working, a biweekly newsletter dedicated to
disseminating news and information about activities and developments
in distance education and learning technologies at Canadian colleges,
universities, and organizations.
Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
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STUDENT SUCCESS AND THE USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION
(January 2000) McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.
Copyright, 2000, the Node. All rights reserved.
How do Canadian college and university teachers define "success" for
their students and how do they use technology to achieve it? Student
Success and the Use of New Technology in Education, a study
commissioned by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., attempts to come up with
answers to these questions through a survey of 2500 of the
publisher's faculty contacts in business, arts and science
departments across the country.
"Critical thinking," the "ability to apply learning," and "analytical
thinking" are the top ranking factors in post-secondary teachers'
definitions of student success, but as separate groups college
teachers place more emphasis on career/job preparation while
university instructors stress mastery of knowledge. Both groups see
"the teaching/learning environment" as the chief motivating factor in
student success, view course preparation as the most important thing
they do to contribute to student success, and rate "lack of time to
devote to course preparation" as their most significant obstacle.
Less than a quarter of respondents ranks technology as a "very
important" tool in helping them achieve their objectives for student
The authors of the study note that "lack of time" is a constant theme
teachers' comments, especially in the use of technology "where it is frequently
mentioned as the key reason why teachers fail to progress as quickly
as they feel they should." In spite of time pressures and lack of
support to integrate technology into their curriculum, 66 percent of
respondents said they were either "extremely" or "very" interested in
increasing their use of technology in the classroom. While they
foresee decreasing their use of e-mail over the next 1-3 years, they
predict making greater use of Web links, downloadable
teaching notes and support readings, CD-ROM support materials, Web
assignments, electronic study guides, and presentation slides.
In using the results of this study readers should bear in mind that
fully 55 percent of respondents described themselves as "inventors,"
"super innovators" or "innovators" with learning technologies. And
here we come to a very important caveat on any generalization from
the findings: the group surveyed is not a representative sample of
Canadian post-secondary teachers and the survey medium (computer
disk) and rate of return (10 percent) may have further skewed the
results. For balance, it may be useful to compare the findings here
with those of a recent study by the University of California, Los
Angeles in which 67 percent of professors reported they are stressed
by keeping up with emerging technology, and relatively few use the
Internet for research purposes (35 percent) or to prepare class
presentations (38 percent).
Nonetheless, Student Success and the Use of New Technology in
Education provides a valuable glimpse at the priorities of a small,
experienced, technologically-adept group of college and university
teachers. Indeed, these
may be the very teachers to provide leadership and mentoring for their peers.
Copies of the study can be ordered from 1-800-565-5758 at a cost of $4.95
(CD). Quote ISBN 0-07-087117-5.