Thursday, November 22, 2012

Study - "Students prefer good lectures over the latest technology in class"

Now here's a report that I'm not sure I agree with: Léo Charbonneau, writing for the Canadian University Affairs website states that in a survey of "15,000 Quebec university students shows they’re “old school” when it comes to teaching technology". The full research study by Venkatesh and Fusaro is only available in French, so I can't delve into the detail.

A packed lecture theatre in Singapore.
Image source: Yahoo! Singapore News.
Charbonneau's article tells us that students "want to listen to a professor who’s engaging, who’s intellectually stimulating and who delivers the content to them". Lecturers on the other hand think that their students "feel more positive about their classroom learning experience if there are more interactive, discussion-oriented activities". This creates a dilemma as students and lecturer's perceptions are not the same on what the best way to learn is.

Most lecturers in the survey reported using some kind of technology in the classroom (presentation software being the most popular). I too use a lot of technology in the classroom - in fact when our network goes down or Moodle is unavailable, I am quite often stuck for what to do in the class. I feel students almost expect some kind of technology use in my classes, and I will not be dropping it in response to the above survey.

Of course there is a difference between "good lectures" and bad ones. I remember some excellent lecturers from my College days who did not need technology to make them better. As for some of the poorer lecturers that I've had - give me technology first any day!

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