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Student perceptions on technology

November 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I have just been looking at an interesting report, ‘Student perspectives on technology – demand, perceptions and training needs‘, (PDF) produced by the UK National Union of Students for the Higher Education Funding Council’ (via Josie Fraser on Twitter).

A survey undertaken as part of the research found

  • 72.8% of respondents used ICT for both fun and for their studies, and 43.3% preferred to use a combination of both printed and electronic resources for their work.
  • 90.1% agreed that the internet has benefited their studies. As to whether ICT has improved their learning experiences, 77.7% agree versus only 5.2% in disagreement.
  • ICT skills – 81% agreed that their ICT skills were self-taught, with 88.6% agreeing that they were effective online researchers.
  • Opinion was divided over whether mobile phones or PDAs should be used to assist learning – 37.3% agree, 35.4% disagree and 27.4% remain neutral.
  • 42.9% would like academics and teachers to use ICT more. There was a common request for more skills training, particularly around how to effectively research and reference reliable online resources.
  • Students seem concerned about a perceived lack of formal research skills instruction, which maybe suggests broader concerns with education and accountability beyond the ICT sphere. Training in specific programs is also commonly desired; however, primarily the skills required are not technological, but academic

From the viewpoint of teaching and learning two findings stand out:

  • Students are concerned about the ICT competency of lecturers and academic staff – There are varying levels of ICT competence on the part of lecturers and staff and, whilst some are clearly skilled or at least able to function in an IT setting, others lack even the most rudimentary IT skills; 21% of students thought their lecturers needed additional training.
  • Opinions are fundamentally divided over e-learning, especially taking into consideration course type and exposure to ICT – both significant advantages and disadvantages were raised in all of the qualitative research with the students.

And in terms of the skills and competence of teaching staff the report recommends:

ICT and career development requirements for teaching staff- ICT skills and usage in learning and teaching should be integrated into the UK Professional Standards Framework, institutional promotional criteria and selection for teaching awards. Institutions may also wish to consider whether staff could be paid or given time off to attend ICT training so that it is not seen as an added burden.


  1. @wrubens Wilfred ken je dit UK over integratie ICT in onderwijs vanuit studenten perspectief? en

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