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Report: Schools not Meeting Students' Technology Needs

A new survey commissioned by Dell suggests that schools are not meeting students' technology needs and that China is ahead of the United States and Germany when it comes to using technology in learning.

Comprising interviews with nearly 1,600 students, teachers, and parents, the survey was designed to gauge opinions in the United States, China, and Germany.

Eighty-two percent of teachers who responded said that "technology allows them to create a more personalized learning experience," while 63 percent of U.S. teachers told interviewers their students "know how to use technology better than they do," according to information released by Dell.

"We heard from secondary school and university students, parents, and teachers that they are familiar and comfortable with technology, but don’t think it’s playing as large a role in the classroom as it should," said Dell President and Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice. "Adults would like to see technology more integrated into learning. And, perhaps most importantly, many teachers do not feel as comfortable as their students do in using technology."

The survey also found that "Chinese students in major cities say they spend more time using technology in school" than their peers in the U.S. and Germany, according a Dell news release.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Although 51 percent of student respondents said that technology could be a distraction, 63 percent said its benefits outweigh that possibility;
  • While six in 10 U.S. respondents said they do not think students should use social media in class to share what they're learning, most Chinese respondents said they do approve of such use;
  • Forty percent of respondents from the U.S. and 26 percent from Germany said their teachers understand technology better than they do;
  • Of student respondents, half said they use technology to interact with school when not there;
  • Students reported using technology at home for school work more than any other activity;
  • Seventy-one percent of students who responded said that they have access to better technology at home than they do at school; and
  • Most student respondents from the U.S. and Germany reported using technology for two hours or less each day at school.

"What we are seeing is that people around the world are increasingly understanding that digital learning will be critical to boosting every child's achievement," said Michael Horn, Innosight Institute's executive director and contributor to THEJournal.com. "To unleash the power of technology, the important thing is to build new educational models or leverage existing proof points that allow us to rethink how school works and put the individual student at the center."

In related news, the company has launched the Dell Education Challenge, in an effort "to help develop solutions to today’s biggest issues in education, including those identified in the poll," according to information released by the company.

Open to university and college students, the challenge is accepting project submissions designed to transform or innovate learning at K-12 schools. Areas that projects can address include:

  • In-school or out-of-school learning;
  • Learning environments;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Policy; and
  • Administration.

The top three winners will be awarded $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500, respectively. A "handful" of "Promising Projects" will also be awarded between $500 and $2,000 for field testing in the next school year, according to the challenge's Web site.

For more information on the Dell Education Challenge, or to submit a project, visit dellchallenge.org/k12. Go to content.dell.com to learn more about the technology survey.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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