Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Great Expectations of ICT

The JISC report Great expectations of ICT : how Higher Education Institutions are measuring up is worth some attention. Following on from the June 2007 phase one research Student Expectations report (which I felt was of limited value on its own because it was hard for the participants to be very clear about what to expect before they even got there) the new report tries to capture the views of the same students once they experience University plus another sample of students not previously surveyed. The results are interesting. Here are a few key quotes from the summary findings :

"Some technologies will be easier to introduce into the teaching
environment than others. One challenge is to introduce new
technologies – such as wikis, which are perceived to be little used,
(although in reality they do tend to be used to a certain degree).
Another is to encourage students to use those technologies that they
currently use in a social situation – such as social networking sites –
for work. These different challenges will require different approaches
from teachers and course designers, and universities will need to
support their staff to deliver this. Universities need to be aware of the
way students already use social networking sites, to help students use
the networks they already have in place; also being aware that some
students currently do not use social networking sites at all."

"Universities could benefit from delivering training which highlights the way students think about information, rather than the way they use technology itself. Students
note that ICT training is often limited to how to use web based
technology, rather than how to think about the potential of various
types of technology. There is an opportunity here for universities to
really add value to the learning experience, by thinking beyond the
practical measures of how to use ICT and training students to look for
opportunities in ICT for learning. A second area for training to focus
on could be the importance of checking the validity of sources used for
research. It appears that students think that they are doing this,
although their methods may not be sufficiently rigorous, and training
should highlight the best way to do this." Enter Information Literacy!

"When students set up their own mechanisms for collaborative
learning, they are more engaged than when tutors set up the
mechanisms for them." This may be important to remember if we try to use blogs or wikis.

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