‘Teachers hold the key to unlocking enhanced learning experiences through technology’; that is the over-riding insight to emerge from a survey carried out by Jisc designed to help higher education providers understand more about their students’ digital experience.
The ‘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 student respondents 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 higher education, with the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the rising demand from employers for digitally-literate staff and ambitious government goals to develop the UK digital economy by 2018 setting a new need for greater technology skills. Key to meeting these targets is partnership working between tutors and students to co-develop digital learning environments and fully utilise technology in educational settings.
Other key findings show how students use digital solutions to support their studies and the support they are receiving from their institutions:
· 78% produce work in a digital format · 62% work online with others (via discussion boards, Facebook and Twitter) · 34% create online records of their work e.g. via a blog or e-portfolio · 59% of respondents felt they receive enough support to use their devices · 64% agree they receive the right level of guidance to behave safely and respectfully online
Sarah Knight, senior co-design manager in the student experience team at Jisc 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 skills, in order to support the development of their students’ skills and to deliver the very best possible learning experience for students. To support this, Jisc is preparing to release a new digital capabilities service that will allow teaching staff to identify where they are confident with their digital skills and where they can be further developed. The service will then provide personalised playlists of resources to help them enhance their skills. We think that this can be an important tool in helping individuals and institutions shape a strategic response to this issue.”
The Jisc Digital Experience Tracker – authored by Helen Beetham and Tabetha Newman - surveyed 10,755 students from 12 HE and 12 FE & Skills institutions. Jisc is 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 students’ about embracing new technology.
Jisc is exploring the possibility of rolling out the tracker as a full service.