Survey Finds Strong Support for Educational Technology

By Leila Meyer 03/14/11

Most educational leaders around the world support technology in
education and believe it is increasingly transforming teaching and
learning, according to an international survey commissioned by Cisco
and conducted by Washington, DC-based Clarus Research Group. The
survey revealed that education is transitioning to the new "connected
learning" networked economy, which requires technological skills
development for increased global competitiveness in education.

Clarus conducted telephone interviews with 500 educational
administrators and information technology decision-makers in 14
countries across five continents. Half of the respondents were from
K-12 schools, and the other half were from colleges and universities.

The majority of people surveyed indicated they see potential for
technology to improve student employment prospects, distance education
opportunities, student engagement, communication and collaboration,
and research capabilities. Most also said they see technology as a way
to reduce costs. However, online security rates high on the list of
concerns.

The three teaching and learning issues affected by technology rated
most critical were teamwork and project-based learning, student
engagement, and preparation for the workforce.

Eighty-six percent of respondents indicated a need for programs and
curriculum that help students develop teamwork skills. The survey
concluded that increased availability of collaboration tools is
helping to foster teamwork and project-based learning.

Eighty-five percent of respondents reported they believe technology
plays an increasingly large role in student engagement and
participation. They said most students seem to enjoy using technology
in the classroom and also indicated technology enables teachers to
tailor lessons to the needs of each student, rather than leave some
students behind or pace teaching for the slowest learners. Teachers
who have used computers to teach math, for example, found that the
technology allowed students to progress at their own pace while also
freeing the teachers to spend more time with students who needed extra
help.

Eight-three percent of respondents considered educational technology
critical to preparing students to compete in a global economy and
ensuring their employability after graduation. Those surveyed said
technology must be incorporated into the core curriculum so students
will be ready to engage in the increasingly connected "workforce of
tomorrow" that requires them to understand how to use technology
effectively.

Other issues of importance identified in the survey included:

Using technology to improve communications with students, parents,
faculty, and staff;
Protecting students from Internet abuse;
Strengthening on-campus data security;
Using "presence" technology in teacher training and staff development;
Using technology to reduce administrative costs and improve cost-efficiency;
Embedding video and multimedia in the learning process;
Investing in data-driven assessments and decision-making systems; and
Expanding online international education.

The priorities of survey respondents varied by region. Those in the
Asia-Pacific region focused on improved communications with students,
improved research infrastructure and capabilities, and preparing the
workforce of the future. European respondents focused on funding,
online security, international presence, research infrastructure and
capabilities, and online international curricula. Respondents from
emerging markets focused on preparation for a global economy, student
attendance, and employability. Latin American respondents had the
highest hopes overall for educational technology and its positive
effects on society.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can
be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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