Teaching with Technology Survey

VR Tops Faculty Wish List for the Classroom

In our 2018 Teaching with Technology Survey, faculty members told us about their most-wanted hardware and software, feelings on tech's value for learning, technologies they're using in class and more.

student using virtual reality headset

In a recent survey of faculty members at colleges and universities across the country, the No. 1 tech respondents said they wished for was virtual reality gear. Interactive, large-screen displays came in second, followed by detachable tablets, 3D scanners and interactive projectors.

These findings come out of Campus Technology's third annual Teaching with Technology Survey, which asked higher education faculty for their perspective on technology in the classroom, its impact on students and its potential in the future.

top hardware on faculty wish list for the classroom

The reality of tech in today's classrooms, however, is much more banal. The most common hardware currently in use, according to our respondents, remains traditional desktop computers/workstations and laptops (each cited by 80 percent of faculty in the survey) — the same items that have topped that list for three years running. The majority of classrooms also use non-interactive projectors (cited by 68 percent of respondents), mobile phones (64 percent), non-interactive, large-screen displays (60 percent) and tech-enabled lecterns (55 percent).

The tech that has seen the most growth since last year is robotics systems, used in 15 percent of our respondents' classrooms, compared to just 5 percent in our 2017 survey — perhaps a sign of the growing focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics in education.

hardware in use in learning environments

We also wanted to know what kind of software is in play in today's classrooms, so we asked faculty about what they're using now, what they'll use in the next year and what they wish for in the future. Presentation software topped the list of most commonly used software (in use by 97 percent of respondents), followed by word processing (96 percent), online video services (89 percent) learning management systems (87 percent) and gradebook software (87 percent). The same tech made the list last year, in a slightly different order.

While 3D modeling was the least-used software, it nevertheless was cited by 25 percent of respondents, an increase from 19 percent last year.

software in use in learning environments

Tying the top spot for faculty's most wished-for software: collaboration/whiteboard software and animation software. No. 2 on that list was audio editing/mixing software, followed by adaptive learning software, video editing and e-portfolio software (another tie), and lecture capture/screen capture software.

top software on faculty wish list for the classroom

We also asked faculty what computing devices are most valuable for teaching and learning. Nearly all respondents — 95 percent — considered traditional laptops "essential" or "valuable" in the classroom. In fact, laptops have won out every year in this category since our survey first began.

Two devices got a noticeably high response in the "detrimental" category: smart watches (cited by 16 percent of respondents) and mobile phones (14 percent). The latter presents an interesting conundrum: While 14 percent of our respondents called mobile phones detrimental, 57 percent considered them "essential" or "valuable" for teaching and learning, suggesting that mobile phones can be both a tool and a distraction in the classroom.

value of computing devices for teaching and learning

Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said they spend 76 percent or more of their instructional time using technology. That's an increase from 43 percent who said the same last year. And not one of the faculty members we surveyed said they use tech 0 percent of the time.

Percentage of Instructional Time When Technology Is Used

Finally, we asked about the format of textbooks used in our respondents' courses. Nearly one in four faculty members (24 percent) are using electronic textbooks, an increase from 18 percent last year. Sixty-seven percent are using a mix of digital and paper-based textbooks. And three out of every four respondents said they use open educational resources for instruction.

format of textbooks in use

Note: We will post more results from the survey over the coming weeks. You can check back for ongoing coverage in our Research section.

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.

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