Ed Tech Trends | Research

Technology Driving Widespread Shift in Teaching Models

Over the last two years, nearly half of faculty have moved away from a traditional lecture model and adopted a range of technology-driven teaching practices, according to new research released in the last week.

Overall Findings
The report, "Learn Now, Lecture Later," declared an increase in the adoption of classroom-based technology use resulting in a variety of changes to teaching and learning. The vast majority of faculty and students, for example, now use notebooks and netbooks as classroom learning tools (75 percent of students and 72 percent of faculty overall), as well as digital content (69 percent of students and 73 percent of faculty). Learning management systems were in use by a smaller majority, with 56 percent of students and 58 percent of faculty members reporting they use an LMS in the classroom.

The increase of technology in the classroom has led to an increase in the use of non-lecture-based instructional delivery methods during class time, such as hands-on learning, group projects, guided independent study, distance learning, and one-on-one instruction.

But overall, according to the report, there's something of a disconnect between the way instruction is delivered and how students want it to be delivered. Thirty-eight percent of student respondents indicated they wanted instruction delivered via traditional lectures, but 53 percent reported that the traditional lecture model is how they are taught during classroom time.

The majority of students participating in the study indicated they'd prefer a mix of delivery models, including:

  • Distance learning (the choice of 11 percent of students);
  • One-on-one tutoring (8 percent);
  • Independent study (14 percent);
  • Group projects (12 percent); and
  • Hands-on projects (17 percent).

Of the 23 percent of students who said they were "very satisfied" with the way faculty spend their class time, most engage in those alternate modes of instruction, including 81 percent in independent study, 76 percent in hands-on projects and group projects, 69 percent in distance learning, and 43 percent in one-on-one tutoring.

"Students told us they want more interaction with teachers during class, as well as the opportunity to incorporate more technology into their classes," said Andy Lausch, vice president of higher education, CDW-G, in a prepared statement. "In fact, students who are very satisfied with how their teachers use class time, also use more technology in class with all types of learning models."

Additional findings included:

  • Overall, 69 percent of students reported they want to see more technology used in the classroom;
  • 26 percent of students reported they have used tablets in the classroom;
  • 34 percent of faculty have used tablets in the classroom;
  • 33 percent of students have used telepresence in their classrooms; and
  • 31 percent of faculty reported used telepresence.

More than three-quarters of campus IT pros (76 percent) reported that teacher requests for classroom technologies have increased over the last two years.

The report was conducted by O'Keeffe & Co. on behalf of CDW-G and was based on surveys of 1,015 total respondents, including 410 students, 304 faculty members, and 301 campus IT professionals. Half were from high schools; the other half were from two- and four-year colleges, universities, and technical schools. The overall margin of error is 3 percent. The margin of error for student responses was 4.8 percent. The margin of error for faculty and IT staffer responses was 5.6 percent.

Technology and Teaching in Secondary Schools
At the high school level, 64 percent of faculty reported they're using class time more frequently to guide student on group projects, 60 percent to lead hands-on projects, 41 percent to guide independent study, and 35 percent to deliver one-on-one tutoring. Fifteen percent reported using distance learning technologies to deliver instruction.

A surprising 45 percent of high school students reported they personally have used smart phones in the classroom as a learning tool, and 30 percent reported using recording classroom lectures. Forty percent of high school students who participated in the survey reported the use of an LMS in the classroom, and 64 percent reported using digital content in the classroom.

Among high school students, the top 5 most desired technologies included:

  1. Laptops and netbooks;
  2. Tablets;
  3. Smart phones;
  4. Digital content; and
  5. Recorded class lectures.

Minus the smart phones, that top 5 list tracked fairly closely with the desires of high school faculty:

  1. Laptops and netbooks;
  2. Tablets;
  3. Digital content;
  4. Recorded class lectures; and
  5. Learning management systems (tied with e-readers).

Barriers and Next Steps for Secondary Schools
The barriers to adoption of more technology in high school cited by both IT staff members and faculty were fairly predictable. Both cited budget as the top roadblock. The faculty list of barriers also included lack of access to technology in the classroom, class size, and lack of technical support.

Campus IT staffers cited lack of professional development, lack of technical support, and lack of time as barriers.

In order to incorporate more technology into schools, IT staffers in secondary schools said they would need to replace or upgrade a number of components of their infrastructure, including:

  • Wireless/wired network hardware (55 percent);
  • Servers and storage (55 percent);
  • Cloud computing infrastructure (43 percent);
  • Security (35 percent); and
  • Virtualization (31 percent).

Technology and Teaching in Post-Secondary Institutions
At the post-secondary level, 51 percent of faculty reported they're using class time more frequently to guide student on group projects, 59 percent to lead hands-on projects, 31 percent to guide independent study, and 13 percent to deliver one-on-one tutoring. More than a third--37 percent--reported using distance learning technologies to deliver instruction.

A majority--55 percent--of college and university students reported they personally have used smart phones in the classroom as a learning tool, and 53 percent reported using recording classroom lectures. Seventy-two percent of post-secondary students who participated in the survey reported the use of an LMS in the classroom, and 74 percent reported using digital content in the classroom.

Among post-secondary students, the top 5 most desired technologies included:

  1. Recorded class lectures;
  2. Laptops and netbooks;
  3. Digital content;
  4. Learning management systems; and
  5. Student response systems.

College and university faculty members diverged a bit from their students in their top-5 most desired devices:

  1. Laptops and netbooks;
  2. Tablets;
  3. Digital content;
  4. Learning management systems; and
  5. Telepresence.

Barriers and Next Steps for Post-Secondary Schools
Barriers to adoption of more technology in higher ed cited by both IT staff members and faculty were fairly predictable. Both cited budget as the top roadblock. The faculty list of barriers also included lack of class size, lack of time, and lack of professional development. Campus IT staffers cited lack of time, lack of professional development, and departmental curriculum as barriers.

In order to incorporate more technology into schools, IT staffers in secondary schools said they would need to replace or upgrade a number of components of their infrastructure, including:

  • Servers and storage (47 percent);
  • Wireless/wired network hardware (42 percent);
  • Cloud computing infrastructure (40 percent);
  • Security (38 percent); and
  • Virtualization (34 percent).

The complete report, with additional findings, analysis, and details on methodology, can be accessed freely on CDW-G's site.

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