At the Campus Technology 2010 Annual Conference last month CDW-G released a report titled "Ready or Not: Next-Gen Students' Technology Expectations Surpass Students' Today" based on their annual survey.
I'm always careful about bias in reports that comes from vendors. CDW Government LLC (CDW-G), is a leading vendor of Information Technology (IT) solutions to educators and government because you know they have something to sell. The report is based on a national survey of 1,000+ college students, faculty and IT staff members.
Some results are obvious - many colleges have increased their campus technology offerings to meet the demands of current and incoming students. Other results are less obvious depending on how closely you work with ed tech.
Both high school and college students view technology as an engaging and interactive way to learn, and they expect it will be available on their campus. Therefore, it rates high for 63% of respondents on their reasons for selecting a college.
College students also expect that the technology they use in their classes will help bridge them to the technology they will need in their professional life.
Campus IT professionals have a broader view of how technology can be used than faculty. 72% of IT professionals said online collaboration software is an essential classroom element but only 31% of faculty members agreed. For "virtual learning," 68 percent of IT staff thought it was important compared to only 35% of faculty.
We might argue that faculty have a better sense than IT staff about that is needed and what will work in their classes. But my own experience has been that many teachers are simply not aware of new technologies.
It makes sense that IT leaders believe their infrastructure needs to be refreshed and that need to improve or expand their storage, security and server infrastructure. Doing those things makes their job easier and maintains their place on campus. But their concerns are not all self-serving.
Students in the survey were most concerned that a lack of professor technology knowledge seemed to be the biggest hurdle to technology integration in their classes. Is more professional development needed? This lack of faculty tech knowledge ranked second among concerns expressed by faculty and IT staff. (Budget pressures, which students don't really care about, was first.)
64% of the college students use social media to connect with classmates to study or work on class assignments and that ny=umber moves up to 76% with high-school students.
Digital content (like electronic textbooks) is a technology gaining preference because of cost savings, instant access to content, access to current content and ease of note taking.
What are the "must-have" campus technologies? Wireless networks (77 percent), off-campus network connections (57 percent) and course management systems (47 percent). High school students want a computing device (84 percent), digital content (64 percent) and e-reader devices (28 percent).
Are things improving on campus? Apparently not. 67% of faculty and 76% of students said their schools are adequately preparing students to use technology at work - but that is down from 74% in 2009 and 82% in 2008.