ECAR report on students and technology

This new report on students and technology from Educause Center for Applied Research has interesting implications for library services. As Barbara Fister points out, instant messaging is dropping in popularity while texting is on the rise. Also, it’s interesting to see that students, on the whole, prefer traditional face-to-face instruction to using a lot of online tools in their education. Less than 40% like to use wikis and blogs in their classwork. I also noted that only around 25% are actually using these technologies in class. I do understand that this doesn’t mean that only 25% have ever used these tools in a class, but I’m wondering if limited experience using these tools for academic work might affect the responses – for example, an experience with one class in which wikis were used in an ineffective manner might have soured the student on the educational uses of this tool. I think this is an area worth exploring. They did receive comments from some of the respondents, but really exploring what factors made some students like the experience and what made others dislike it would be valuable, I think.

In any case, the report shows we should be cautious in being over-enthusiastic about using new IT for education. And probably pay more attention to ways to offer mobile reference services as an alternative to chat.

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