Survey: ‘Digital natives’ need more IT support

A new survey claims to show a 'perception gap in how adept students are versus how savvy they are presumed to be.'
A new survey claims to show a 'perception gap in how adept students are versus how savvy they are presumed to be.'

Marc Prensky, the education writer who made popular the phrase “digital native,” says there’s no reason a college freshman should be expected to know every function of even basic computer programs such as Microsoft Word. And Prensky’s claim is reinforced by a recent survey that shows even tech-savvy college students require more campus IT support than you might think.

Only four in 10 college students surveyed said they receive adequate support for education technology tools on campus, although 70 percent of respondents said they would prefer to take a course with “a great deal of technology” if proper IT help was provided, according to Instructors and Students: Technology Use, Engagement, and Learning Outcomes, released April 7 by higher-education research firm Eduventures and Cengage Learning, a Connecticut-based company that provides research, learning, and teaching solutions.

While college students are adept at manipulating complex social-networking tools through their iPhones and BlackBerries, along with video and computer games, “they’re not nearly as proficient when it comes to using digital tools in a classroom setting; this turns the myth that we’re dealing with a whole generation of digital natives on its head,” said William Rieders, executive vice president of global new media for Cengage Learning.…Read More

New program combines technology, community service

Participants in the START initiative, the Service & Technology Academic Resource Team, share how their school's service-learning projects pair technology and community service.
Participants in the START program describe how their service-learning projects pair technology and community service.

Students at six schools from across the country are taking part in a pilot program that uses “service learning” as a way to revitalize their schools and communities while gaining valuable 21st-century skills.

The Service & Technology Academic Resource Team (START) program, launched by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and Microsoft Corp., aims to create a new kind of collaboration between students and teachers through technology-focused service learning.

CNCS and Microsoft chose six schools to participate in the program initially. The schools—Winston Churchill Middle School in California, Tupelo Middle School in Mississippi, Lower East Side Preparatory High School in New York, East Garner Magnet Middle School in North Carolina, Parkway West High School in Pennsylvania, and Forest Park High School in Virginia—will receive grants and serve as national test sites for how schools can integrate service learning and technology into the classroom.…Read More