Report: Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Native Students
Surprised? In agreement? PLEASE comment here! -- Found online inT.H.E. Journal
By Dian Schaffhauser
Science teachers specifically were chosen for their overall pioneering spirits. "They are usually the early adopters to integrate technology in labs and physical experiments, hands-on activities, field trips and data collection," the report stated. "Compared with other subject area teachers, they are more likely to engage in technology-integrated practices."
The report's conclusion: "Today's school-age learners are no more technology savvy than their teachers. The previous assumption used to profile students as digital natives did not apply to the students in this study. In fact, teachers' technology use experiences surpassed students whether it [was] inside or outside of school."
The researchers found that "students used technology outside of school for working on school projects, maintaining social networks and entertainment" — but mostly for playing games and listening to music. Teachers showed similar patterns of usage but with greater frequency. Teachers also tended to depend "much more on using technology to solve daily problems, to improve productivity, and as learning aids."
Wang noted that teacher age had no impact on the kinds of technology skills they have. The gap between them and their students lies with how little opportunity students get to practice technology beyond pursuing their personal interests.
"In many ways," the researchers wrote, "it is determined by the requirements teachers place on their students to make use of new technologies and the ways teachers integrate new technologies in their teaching."
The report recommends that "high-quality training" be provided to teachers to help them learn how to integrate content-specific technology into their lessons and how to teach their students how to use technology more effectively.
"School-age students may be fluent in using entertainment or communication technologies, but they need guidance to learn how to use these technologies to solve sophisticated thinking problems," Wang noted. "The school setting is the only institution that might create the needs to shape and facilitate students' technology experience. Once teachers introduce students to a new technology to support learning, they quickly learn how to use it."