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Teaching with Technology Survey

Future of Ed Tech Is Bright, According to Faculty Survey

In our latest Teaching with Technology Survey, nearly all faculty said they believe tech will play a positive role in education in the future.

group of students studying with laptops

Ninety-seven percent of faculty members who took our 2018 Teaching with Technology Survey reported a positive outlook on the future of technology in education. The survey asked higher education faculty at colleges and universities across the country about tech's role in education, what technologies will become important in the future, what will fizzle out and more.

Will Technology Play a Positive Role in Education in the Future?

While faculty see a bright future for ed tech in general, they also acknowledged that certain technologies might be nearing their expiration date. When asked to predict which technologies would be dead and gone in the next decade, the No. 1 response was desktop computers, followed by non-interactive projects and displays, document cameras/overhead projectors, printed textbooks and clickers.

Some additional candidates for the chopping block, proposed by only a handful of respondents but interesting to consider, include: anything that is not accessible; anything currently freemium; Bloom's Taxonomy; gamification; Minecraft; QR codes; Second Life; smartwatches; badges; and adaptive learning.

Top 10 Technologies That Will Be Dead and Gone in the Next Decade

We also asked faculty which technologies they wish they didn't have to deal with. Tied for the top of that list were learning management systems and non-interactive projectors and displays. Mobile phones and social media rounded out the top three slots, followed by lack of internet/wireless access, clickers, printers and smart watches (another tie), and e-mail.

A few other answers that caught our eye: (we have students using it to cheat); frequent, late-announced changes to technologies I must use every day; lack of training for teachers; mail-order Ph.D. college presidents; out-of-date student computers; and proprietary publisher content.

Top 7 Technologies Faculty Wish They Didn't Have to Deal With

When we asked faculty what technologies they think will become important in education over the next decade, the lion's share of responses pointed to virtual/augmented/mixed reality. In fact, that particular technology has topped the list three years in a row. Rounding out the top five this time around: mobile devices and wearables, 3d printing and scanning, artificial intelligence, and game-based learning.

Other less common yet interesting answers included accessibility, Amazon, face-to-face classes, haptic interfaces, mentoring/coaching, and nanotechnology.

Top 5 Technologies That Will Become Important in Education Over the Next Decade

Finally, we asked faculty for freeform comments on the state of technology in education. Their responses ran the gamut from concerns about accessibility and plagiarism to digital literacy and IT support, but one common theme was change.

"Technology is an indicator and revealer of the very fundamental changes that are needed in higher education, but not the short-cut answer to those critical questions," noted one faculty member at a private nonprofit four-year institution in Oklahoma.

"Hurdle: Reduce the fear," said another respondent from a public four-year institution in Arizona. "We know there are very smart people who have not engaged with these technologies because they don't see the value or have a fear of change to the current model."

And a faculty member at a public community college in Ohio reminded us, "Over the past three decades as an educational technology professional I've observed that while technology changes constantly, human nature and human needs don't. We sometimes forget that."

Who Responded

Our survey polled 161 faculty members across the United States about the use of technology in higher education. The majority of respondents (67 percent) come from public institutions, with 29 percent from private nonprofits and 4 percent working at for-profit schools. Sixty-seven percent work at four-year colleges or universities; 26 percent are at community colleges; and 7 percent designated their institutional level as "other."

Respondents represent institutions of a range of sizes, with 46 percent working in colleges or universities with 10,000 students or more. Twenty-five percent of respondents are from institutions with 2,500 to 9,999 students; 16 percent from institutions with 1,000 to 2,400 students; and 13 percent from institutions counting under 1,000 students.

Sixty percent of respondents have 21-plus years of experience in the education field, while 30 percent have 11 to 20 years of experience under their belts. Just 2 percent are newbies with under five years of experience.

Respondents work in a variety of disciplines, ranging from pharmacy and law to humanities and engineering. The top two most common school and college types represented were education (38 percent of respondents) and business/business administration (26 percent).

The top states with the most survey respondents are Texas, New York, California, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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