Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Early returns are in . . .

If you haven't already done so, check out the early returns from the 1:1 Technology Survey. The target population of the first phase of the survey is students who will take classes on the ASU downtown campus this coming Fall.

The results so far confirm that personal technology is the norm among students. Survey results confirm that an overwhelming majority of students report owning a computer (97%). Sixty percent say they own a laptop and thirty-one percent report owning both a laptop and a desktop.
The full 138 page report shows the detailed results for each question. For me its confirms that, at least for the survey respondents, technology is a surprisingly important part of students' lives.

The survey continues and we are hoping it will give a better picture of technology use here at ASU on a program by program basis. More here as the results come in.


lparsons,  March 7, 2006 at 5:32 AM  

"For me its confirms that, at least for the survey respondents, technology is a surprisingly important part of students’ lives."

Not exactly surprising then, is it... ;-)

Seriously, it comes as no surprise to me that students like technology gadgets. US consumers have been gobbling stuff like MP3 players, phones with cameras, portable cassette players, 8-track tape decks, etc. for years. However, I would argue that only a small percentage of technology gadgets purchased truly improve productivity. Most are for entertainment or "cool" value. Others purport to improve things, but contacts and meeting planning can still be done effectively and with much less overhead on a simple $5 paper planner.

As a teaching institution, ASU runs into two sometimes opposed goals. One is to serve it's students by accommodating their desires and needs. The other is to educate them, which as we all know personally, can require a bit of "parental prodding" and the enforcement of sometimes unpopular rules. While the idea of laptops for students seems great, the concept of lectures as mp3 files on iPods strikes me as a poor idea. I highly doubt that students will be able to focus on the subject matter, and will simply view these as a way to get out of really tackling the class. Providing an "easy out" like this is not in the students or universities best interests. Portable electronics such as MP3 players and cell phones make it possible for people to multitask more frequently. That is great for some tasks, like talking on the phone while waiting in a line at the MU. However, serious learning often requires focus. That focus is something that portable electronics make more and more difficult. It's also something that is actually fostered by environments like the campus library or computing labs.

While we certainly need to keep up with the times and utilize new technology effectively, as an institution of higher learning, we also have the responsibility to help guide our students and our society toward behavior and practices that promote self-growth and education. Lectures on iPods and music download services for students seem to be moving in the wrong direction to me.

quagmire,  March 9, 2006 at 9:52 AM  

I believe in 1:1 and feel it is the right direction the university should move toward.

However, I am curious as to how the survey was delivered. Was it web-based? If so, it seems that asking "Do you drive a car?" to individuals at a gas station, might not be representative of the population.

lani,  March 9, 2006 at 11:59 AM  

While I agree with lparsons' comment that many techno gadgets are for entertainment and that some things can still be done more efficiently with simple paper and pen, I don't see the jump from that to iPods & mp3 files being an "easy out" for classes.

I think the idea of being able to listen (re-listen) to a lecture anytime, anywhere is great. Especially for those students who may have a life outside of school, who might have conflicting appointments or for numerous reasons may miss a lecture, the idea of "lecture on demand" could be the perfect solution. Or, as a study aid, a recording of a lecture that can be listened to over and over might be the tool that helps a student truly "tackle" a class.

Joseph,  March 10, 2006 at 2:48 AM  

Back in the day (I am become my father)... I remember sitting in ECA at 1:30 am submitting my CSE lab work via Haspbox to the Ahmdal... what I would have given to have a laptop back then!

My point is that technology is a process facilitator, not THE process... I don't think that we will ever see the day when lectures are delivered via MP3... the value of an interactive classroom education includes the social interaction of its participants. But it would be nice to have that MP3 to go back and pick up those salient points in the lecture!

lparsons,  March 12, 2006 at 6:22 AM  

Good points about how recordings of lectures could be beneficial. Certainly, the ability to review a lecture can be helpful, though students have been recording lectures for a long time on tape. However, I suspect that time could be better spent reading the textbook and paying attention and participating in class. Many classes at ASU are video-tapped and know of very few students who spend the time to re-listen to lectures. Audio recordings make it easy to redistribute a lecture or speech, but (IMHO) they are do not make it easy to consume the material. For instance, it takes 10-15 mins to listen to one of President Crow's podcasts. I would much rather spend

Angel,  March 14, 2006 at 4:19 AM  

The car/gas station scenario is well put! And reminds us of a critical consideration. With any survey format, online..paper-based..telephone..in-person..we must always be sensitive to ACCESS issues. What is accessible to some respondents may be an insurmountable hurdle for others. Through a multi-method approach to gathering input, we are combining web-based surveys with in-person focus groups, faculty interviews, and in-class discussion. Rather than generalize results from one specific sample, a strategic multi-method protocol increases our ability to gain input and understand needs. Future phases will examine the level of ‘readiness’, need, and preferences of not only those currently enrolled, but also extend to potential students and k12.

For the present phase of the survey, all potential fall 06 students currently have ASU email addresses (or other forwarded addresses, that they have provided). Web access or assistance with completing the survey was available via the individual college. Students were also provided a phone number by which they could seek assistance. Other considerations are discussed in the full report (see page 17 Phase I - Web Surveys- Methodological Issues To Consider).

Paul,  March 22, 2006 at 1:26 AM  

Currently my Chemistry teacher records her lectures in audio and video. When the semester started I thought what a great idea this is. However, this turned into a class population of around 110 students attending on a regular basis to around 50 students attending. I'm not saying lectures on demand are a bad idea, but there are downfalls. For example, my professor has disrupted the class on so many occasions whenever her laptop that records the lecture would crash or if it stopped recording. So my question is, who is going to record these lectures for students? Over-time you could instruct the professor how to do so, but sometimes they are just as busy if not busier than the students and also less adept and incorporating new technology into their lectures. Also going back to the students skipping class, if you provide lectures on-demand, you will have to eventually implement a way to take attendance since most learning is done in class through lecturing and interaction. My professor has incorporated the use of a "clicker", she simply asks the class a powerpoint question every lecture and all students attending submit an answer via their clicker, thus incorporating participation and attendance. Providing lectures on-demand can be beneficial, however you can't just provide the lecture and be happy, you have to make sure your instructor knows how to record the lecture or provide a technician for each classroom which would get expensive and you have to enforce student attendance. If you can do this, then lectures on-demand should be done.

lparsons,  March 22, 2006 at 6:16 AM  

Law professor bans laptops in class, over student protest

Article at: link

Discussion at: link

shauntu,  May 3, 2006 at 3:19 AM  


'More professors ban laptops in class'