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"Student Success And The Use Of New Technology In Education"

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

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The posting below is a brief report of a study of what Canadian Post

Secondary teachers define as success for their students and how they

use technology to achieve it. The article is reprinted with

permission from: Net Working, a biweekly newsletter dedicated to

disseminating news and information about activities and developments

in distance education and learning technologies at Canadian colleges,

universities, and organizations.


Rick Reis

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning


------------------ 485 words -----------------


(January 2000) McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd.

Copyright, 2000, the Node. All rights reserved.


How do Canadian college and university teachers define "success" for

their students and how do they use technology to achieve it? Student

Success and the Use of New Technology in Education, a study

commissioned by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., attempts to come up with

answers to these questions through a survey of 2500 of the

publisher's faculty contacts in business, arts and science

departments across the country.

"Critical thinking," the "ability to apply learning," and "analytical

thinking" are the top ranking factors in post-secondary teachers'

definitions of student success, but as separate groups college

teachers place more emphasis on career/job preparation while

university instructors stress mastery of knowledge. Both groups see

"the teaching/learning environment" as the chief motivating factor in

student success, view course preparation as the most important thing

they do to contribute to student success, and rate "lack of time to

devote to course preparation" as their most significant obstacle.

Less than a quarter of respondents ranks technology as a "very

important" tool in helping them achieve their objectives for student


The authors of the study note that "lack of time" is a constant theme


teachers' comments, especially in the use of technology "where it is frequently

mentioned as the key reason why teachers fail to progress as quickly

as they feel they should." In spite of time pressures and lack of

support to integrate technology into their curriculum, 66 percent of

respondents said they were either "extremely" or "very" interested in

increasing their use of technology in the classroom. While they

foresee decreasing their use of e-mail over the next 1-3 years, they

predict making greater use of Web links, downloadable

teaching notes and support readings, CD-ROM support materials, Web

assignments, electronic study guides, and presentation slides.

In using the results of this study readers should bear in mind that

fully 55 percent of respondents described themselves as "inventors,"

"super innovators" or "innovators" with learning technologies. And

here we come to a very important caveat on any generalization from

the findings: the group surveyed is not a representative sample of

Canadian post-secondary teachers and the survey medium (computer

disk) and rate of return (10 percent) may have further skewed the

results. For balance, it may be useful to compare the findings here

with those of a recent study by the University of California, Los

Angeles in which 67 percent of professors reported they are stressed

by keeping up with emerging technology, and relatively few use the

Internet for research purposes (35 percent) or to prepare class

presentations (38 percent).

Nonetheless, Student Success and the Use of New Technology in

Education provides a valuable glimpse at the priorities of a small,

experienced, technologically-adept group of college and university

teachers. Indeed, these

may be the very teachers to provide leadership and mentoring for their peers.

Copies of the study can be ordered from 1-800-565-5758 at a cost of $4.95

(CD). Quote ISBN 0-07-087117-5.