As technology continues to grow and change the way that the world works, there are often conversations on the topic of whether or not new technologies should be used in the classroom. The truth is, students want technology. Technology is an empowering factor in today’s society. The popularity of smartphones and tablets has increased the opportunities for students to interact with one another. So, why hasn’t the education world stepped in and utilized this growing trend?
This study published by Unit4 and DJS Research uncovered that 7 out of 10 of today’s students would recommend that their school reviews and changes its current digital strategy. This study also uncovers a variety of other statistics that can help a school bridge the technological gap between themselves and their students. I wanted to talk about these statistics.
Let’s take a look at what this study shows.
The Big Picture in Education Technology
If we look at a large portion of today’s students, many fall within the category of “generation Z” or those born between 1996 to 2010. This survey found that these individuals are accustomed to owning five personal electronic devices: a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and a music player or tablet. With this in mind, it makes sense that this study found that 79% of the students surveyed display symptoms of distress when separated from their electronic devices.
This statistic alone should encourage the coexistence of technology in schools. Yet, many schools do not allow the use of smartphones and tablets in the classroom.
Students Want Technology in the Classroom
Perhaps one of the more alarming points within this study is that 41% of the surveyed students reported that they would have a better experience if they could interact more digitally with their schools. This means that nearly half of today’s students are not completely satisfied with their schools, simply because they cannot find the help they need using their smartphones or computers. This issue is affecting a massive portion of students. But, it could easily be solved if the schools implemented new digital strategies. In fact, some schools have, and have seen, incredible gains from doing so.
This survey also asked students to rank how easily various tasks are to manage digitally. Of these tasks, their university life ranked last—even behind finances and banking. We all know how hard managing finances online can be. So what does that say about the education system? This means that managing school and university tasks is nearly impossible to do digitally, but as the previous point shows, 41% of students would have a more positive school experience if it were more digitally manageable.
36% of students believe they spend less time studying because admin is so complex. It is important for the education world to listen to feedback like this. The education world needs to work towards finding a middle ground where administration and students can happily coexist.
47% of students expect student administration to be easier to manage, due to the tuition fees they pay. While we all expect to get what we pay for, this statistic is incredibly important. With higher education becoming increasingly necessary, tuition costs tend to keep rising. It is important to ensure students are given what they pay for in a way that fits their lifestyle.
What Would Students Like to See?
Less Paperwork. A third of the surveyed students feel that there is too much paperwork involved in the education system. That caused their experience to be flawed by complex student administration. Students found this issue to be most prevalent in these fields: Financial aid, course transfers, student-to-advisor communications, progress management, paying tuition, and college admissions.
87% of students want a single mobile or web application for their school or university. Many students run into the issue of having to remember various websites and platforms in order to get through their school life on a daily basis.
8 out of 10 students would find it useful to have an application that shows their current progress in their degree. Today’s students don’t have a lot of options when it comes to gathering information on their degree progress. Of course, there are a handful of degree progress report tools. But many of these may not work effectively or require administrative assistance. This leaves students in the dark when it comes to pursing their future. Today’s youth are an independent breed and thrive for the ability to take matters into their own hands.
Overall, it is important for the education world to step in and try to implement new digital strategies whenever and wherever possible. As this study shows, simply providing the option for students to manage their education digitally can have outstanding effects on the outcome and overall satisfaction of a student’s education experience.
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