Students and Technology – what can we learn from US research?

Students and Technology Research

Somehow I missed this at the time, but have just caught up with The ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology Report from 2011, published by EDUCAUSE (an education group from the United States).


They surveyed 3,000 students from 1,179 colleges and universities in the US.

The key conclusions that they arrived at were:

  • Students are drawn to hot technologies, but they rely on more traditional devices
  • Students report technology delivers major academic benefits
  • Students report uneven perceptions of institutions’ and instructors’ use of technology
  • Facebook generation students juggle personal and academic interactions
  • Students prefer, and say they learn more in, classes with online components

Students and Technology Infographic

Like many reports these days, they also produced a nice infographic which summarises the key data.

It seems that students own a massive amount of technology! Just imagine all of these devices fighting for space on their desktops!What devices do students own?

And they also have positive opinions on the IT services that their institution provides – things like course registration (much more important in the US, as students regularly sign up for min-courses during their full course), publishing grades and making resources and transcripts available.

What online services students like

    In addition to the full report, there’s also a set of PowerPoint slides available (PPTXPPTPDF) which goes into the data in more detail. For example, on slide 29, there’s a chart showing the technologies they wished their instructors used more. It surprised me to see that email was the top item that they wanted to see their instructors to use more. It’s also interesting to me that the technologies that innovators talk so much about (blogs, wikis, social studying sites) are a lot lower down the list. If I read this right, students appear to be asking in the survey for teachers to get the basics right – good communication on email, good use of LMS, good use of presentation software – instead of bringing in fancy new technologies.

    As one respondent said “I wish instructors e-mailed more so that students and teachers could communicate easier, faster, and more efficiently.

    What technologies do students want to see teachers using more

      Learn MoreRead the full ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology Report