Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Small Study Finds Gap between Educational and Informal Use

Only 29 students were surveyed in this study by Swapna Kumar so we have to be cautious about the results. The undergraduate education students at a large private university were asked about their perspectives on Web 2.0. technologies, specifically about their informal and educational use of these technologies.

The results confirm other studies that show that technology use is multifaceted and that we need to look more deeply at how the technology is being used. Like other studies, this study found students consumed far than they produced with technology. In other words they were primarily passive users of the technology and not making full use of the affordances of Web 2.0 technologies.

On the other hand, Kumar's finding contradicted other studies in finding that the students were able to transfer their personal expertise with the technologies to the academic context:

"the qualitative data summarized earlier in this paper reveal that students in this group use Instant Messenger when completing assignments, and Google Docs for archiving and group work, even if their professors are unfamiliar with Google Docs. They suggested innovative and relevant ways in which online videos, podcasts, and wikis can enhance their educational experience in contrast to research reported by Caruso and Kvavik (2005) and Kennedy et al. (2008). Students’ voluntary descriptions of how these resources have been used in courses that they have attended, as well as their enthusiastic suggestions, signify their interest in the use of new technologies in higher education."

But as Kumar points out, this interest in the academic use of the technology may have been driven by the students' interest in teaching and the fact they were enrolled in an educational foundations course. As we have said, the context is critical.


juicy said...

Certainly that student piece would have added an interesting component to my thesis research, because I suspect their use of social software is divergent from what's prescribed by instructors.


Downes said...

Why would anyone publish this study, much less cite it? Seriously, now...

Mark Bullen said...

Thanks for the insightful comment Stephen.

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