‘Teachers hold the key to unlocking enhanced learning experiences through technology’; that is the overriding insight to emerge in our new survey, designed to help higher education (HE), further education (FE) and skills providers understand more about their students’ digital experiences.
The student digital experience tracker, a pilot scheme to provide first-hand insight into learners’ expectations and views on technology in an education setting, showed that 72% of HE and 70% of FE and skills learners believe that when technology is used effectively by teaching staff it enhances their learning experience – giving credence to the argument that practitioners need to develop their own digital skills to deliver learning and teaching.
This is an increasingly important theme within the sectors, with rising demand from employers for digitally-literate staff, and ambitious goals from government to develop the UK digital economy by 2018, setting a new need for greater technology skills. It comes in the week that the Science and Technology Committee released its report, digital skills crisis, which found that:
"Students using technology in the classroom is not enough in itself—they only translate this experience into key digital skills through good teaching and following good role models."
Key to reaching these targets is partnership working between tutors and students to co-develop digital learning environments and fully utilise technology.
Other key findings show how students use digital solutions to support their studies and the support they are receiving from their institutions:
- Approximately three-quarters (78% of HE and 72% for FE and skills) produce work in a digital format
- HE learners were more likely to work online with others via discussion boards, Facebook and Twitter (62% compared to 47%)
- A third of all learners create online records of their work, for example, using a blog or e-portfolio
- 59% of HE and 66% of FE and skills respondents felt they received enough support from lecturers and teachers to use technology devices
- The majority of learners agree they receive the right level of guidance to behave safely and respectfully online (64% for HE, and 82% for FE and skills)
Sarah Knight, our senior co-design manager, said:
“We know the power that technology has to transform learning for all students, and these results gives us a really rich source of data on the current situation which, crucially, show just how important teaching staff are in driving this process.
The good news is that we are on the right course – but in order to maintain this it is incredibly important that practitioners consistently work on their own digital skills, and support the development of their students’, while delivering the very best possible learning experience.
Our work around digital capabilities will allow teaching staff to identify where they have strengths in their digital skills, and what they need to develop further. They will then be provided with personalised ‘playlists’ of resources to help them enhance their digital literacy and build confidence. We think that this can be an important tool in helping individuals and institutions shape a strategic response to this issue.”
The student digital experience tracker pilot – authored by Helen Beetham and Tabetha Newman - surveyed 10,755 students from 12 HE and 12 FE and skills institutions. We are currently working with all 24 pilot institutions to help them analyse and respond to their findings, providing advice and guidance on how to use the data to target resources and have an ongoing dialogue with their learners about embracing new technology. We will be exploring the possibility of rolling out the tracker as a full service.
Visit the report to view the full results.