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Students Report: Classroom Use of Tech Getting Lamer

More students earned better grades in their face-to-face courses than they did in their online courses. And more of them said they believe they could do even better if their professors used more technology in the classroom. Yet in some ways student confidence in the use of classroom technology appears to be on the wane.

Those are some of the conclusions shared recently from a May 2016 survey of 500 college students by Wakefield Research on behalf of VitalSource, a company that provides a platform for delivering digital curriculum.

Among surveyed students who have taken an online class in college, 59 percent said they received a better grade in their in-person courses vs. their online courses. Last year 51 percent said they earned better grades in the online classes.

About eight in 10 students (81 percent) expressed overall satisfaction with the technology currently used in their classes. Among those, 22 percent said they were "completely satisfied," down from last year's 35 percent. Another 19 percent said they were dissatisfied, more than double last year's eight percent who said the same.

This year the percentage of students who stated that they believe their grades would improve with the use of more tech in the classroom was 68 percent, a drop from 74 percent in 2015. In that specific question the examples of tech usage included tablets or cloud-based presentations.

Yet, a slight skepticism regarding classroom use of tech doesn't represent a decline in personal use. Ninety-nine percent of students said they own some form of technology. Nine in 10 respondents said they had a smartphone; 85 percent said they had a laptop; and 48 percent said they had an iPad or other tablet. During their waking hours, more than half of students (51 percent) said they can't go longer than 10 minutes without using some form of digital technology. The average amount of time across all respondents was 48 minutes

"The survey results show us the technology used in college classes just isn't meeting the expectations of today's students, even as other parts of their lives are relying on tech," said Pep Carerra, VitalSource's chief operating officer, in a news release. "The challenge is to keep pace with the ever-evolving landscape while keeping the aspects we know boost student success."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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