Home > Teaching > Technology in the Classroom: Some Survey Results

Technology in the Classroom: Some Survey Results

“I say bring it.”

This was the response a student gave on a survey I sent out over the weekend about the role of technology in the classroom.  While I’m certainly interested in how digital media can change and enhance historical scholarship, I’m equally intrigued by the ways it can shape the classroom.  In hopes of figuring out where students stand, I decided to send my class a survey over the weekend.  On the survey I asked them four questions:

  •  In what ways do professors utilize technology in the classroom?
  • Do you find these methods effective?
  • Rank the following in terms of how effective you think they would be in the classroom: powerpoint, blackboard discussion boards, twitter, podcasts, student blogs, student-made movies.
  • What role do you think technology should play in the classroom?

The first two questions yielded expected results.  Most professors use some combination of powerpoint, blackboard, and youtube/movie clips.  I was particularly interested in the second two questions, however, and the results surprised me.  Based on my extremely unscientific method of calculating the results, most students still prefer powerpoint and blackboard as a supplement to traditional lectures.  The concern, if that’s the right word to use, was that the technology needs to help break up the monotony of a 50-minute lecture.  That is certainly something I can sympathize with.  I was expecting more students to embrace the possibility of making movies, using podcasts, or having discussions on twitter.  Responses there were mixed, too.

Almost all the students did agree that technology has a role in the classroom, but I saw no clear consensus regarding ways to incorporate new media.  So in the end, I still remain unsure of what to do with new media as a way to add variety to class.  I suppose it will be an ongoing process, but I’m open to trial and error in future classes.

I’d be interested to hear what readers think.  How should we use new media to enhance teaching?

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Categories: Teaching
  1. drtyra
    January 30, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Great post. We were discussing this at a faculty meeting the other day. Almost everyone seemed to be using a bit of technology – Twitter, LinkedIn, wikis, Prezi, online portfolios (Wix.com), etc. I, too, have never found consensus from the students about what they like/find useful and what they don’t. I even tried a Facebook page for the class and one student complained about THAT (apparently, she is the only undergraduate in the world not on Facebook).

    I guess the tech needs to fit the course. Our marketing person uses Twitter to follow and demonstrate how companies use Twitter as a marketing/customer service tool. We use LinkedIn in a professional development course. And so on.

    Part of the challenge is how well the university and classrooms are equipped. We were given iPad2’s…but they don’t hook up to the projector in the classroom, sooooo… If you figure this out, let me know. I’m all ears (and gadgets).

    • February 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      I think you make a good point about the tech needing to fit the course. Something like twitter might be more useful in a history class, largely driven by discussion, that something like LinkedIn.

      As for having iPad’s for class, I would certainly enjoy something like that. Are they given to students, too?

  2. January 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    In my opinion, the question should be.. How should students use tecnnology to enhance learning?

    • February 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      When I wrote the survey I tried to format it in a way that gave the students a chance to direct the technology was used in the class. But I found that it didn’t create the type of response I was expecting.

      Would you suggest giving students free reign to use whatever technologies they see fit within the classroom? I’m wondering if I would need to prompt them to use technology or if they would take the initiative upon themselves.

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