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JISC Report on Students and ICT

Here’s another report on the status of student expectations about technology and libraries.
JISC Student expectations study
Publication date: 6 September 2007
JISC commissioned Ipsos MORI to undertake research among prospective university students to understand (This study, conducted in the UK, had in-depth interviews with 27 students between the ages of 15-18 in a focus group setting and a follow-up survey of about 500 students with ages between 16 and 18.):
– current levels of ICT provision at school/college
– expectations of ICT provision at university
– any difference between expectation of ICT provision and that which is provided by HE institutions
These objectives explored the hypothesis that there is a mismatch between student expectations of what they will be able to do in Higher Education (HE) institutions and what HE institutions can and do offer in terms of ICT.
This research is preparatory to the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry (being convened by JISC for Autumn 2007) into the changing learner experience. The Inquiry will look at the implications for HE institutions of the experience and expectations of learners approaching full-time higher education to inform senior management and provide advice to universities and colleges.
Download the full report here.
The full report is a 49-page, 1MB PDF document filled with interesting tidbits about these students’ vision of technology.
Conclusions and implications
The research audience were all children of the digital age. They have simply grown up with more advanced technology than preceding generations, particularly in the field of communications. This is interwoven into their lives. They expect it to be just as present in their school life as it is at home, and thus assume it will also be present at university.
But it is difficult for them to project how they imagine technology helping them learn in ways that they have not experienced before. In part, this is because they basically find it hard to imagine the kinds of learning and teaching that they might meet at university, and try simply to map their current sixth-form experiences onto this new world. So, they are excited by technological options which they imagine will assist and complement their studies, but not by ones which they imagine will complicate or inhibit them, or take them out of their comfort zones with regard to teaching and learning.
These young people have grown up with technology as an intrinsic part of their lives, and expect that this will only increase with time. Although the students we spoke to in the discussion groups were generally unsure on their expectation of university ICT provision they were quite adept at evaluating different ICT options. It would follow that if they do not know what to expect when they get there, there will not be a mismatch between expectation and reality. However the research shows that they do know instinctively what works for them and what they prefer, when they are presented with it, therefore we can assume that they will be able to take decisions about any new technology they may meet at university.
While the students expect to be able to set themselves up, technologically, in the same way that they are perhaps used to now, they will not expect either their connectivity to decrease or for the technology to encroach on what they see as the key benefits from university – interaction and learning.
The traditional methods of teacher/pupil learning seem neither hierarchical nor outmoded to them. They see personal, face to face interaction as the backbone of their learning. It would be interesting and relevant to carry out a similar study with first-year undergraduates, who have begun to appreciate the many different ways learning can happen at university, to see if opinions differ significantly and if the potential for ICT is more easily understood once they have exThis age group suspects that if all learning is mediated through technology, this will diminish the value of the learningperienced the different teacher-learner relationships of university.
The audience for our research thinks that technology should:
– support established methods of teaching and admin
– act as an additional resource for research and communication
– be a core part of social engagement and facilitate face-to-face friendships at university
These principles run across all groups identified in the online research. Those who are leading edge users or have high use of ICT at school are perhaps more technology savvy and open to its use, but they do not want technology to encroach on their learning or social experiences.
Fundamentally, this age group suspects that if all learning is mediated through technology, this will diminish the value of the learning.”
That’s an interesting and unexpected insight. These digital natives are far more thoughtful about technology than some would assume.
Stephen

Posted on: September 13, 2007, 3:12 pm Category: Uncategorized