Research: Technology is Key to College Success

July 15, 2011 -

Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) has released a new report, "Integrating Technology with Student-Centered Learning," that points out the need to better prepare the youth of America for a college education that is heavily focused on technology.

The report was prepared by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) for NMEF's Research and Development Initiative. It examines current literature to better understand how technology might be used to personalize learning for students. The report examines the integration of computer- and web-based tools, applications, and games, as well as video and technology associated with mechanical and electrical engineering.

According to the report, which was prepared by EDC's Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes, 43 percent of high school students feel unprepared to use technology as they look ahead to college and work; only 8 percent of teachers fully integrate technology in the classroom; and many teachers lack confidence in their own technology-related skills.

"Teachers and students often utilize technology and social networking in their everyday lives," said Beth M. Miller, Ph.D., Director of Research and Evaluation for NMEF. "However, in the past, technology has not always improved achievement. As this report makes clear, we are truly at a crossroads in the potential for technology to enhance student-centered teaching and learning."

The report provides portraits of student-centered models where technology has been successfully integrated, such as High Tech High, a network of K-12 charter schools in the San Diego area that utilize technology to document and assess student learning through digital portfolios; and Quest to Learn, a New York public school that uses a video game-based curriculum.

"Our review of the research found evidence that technology alone will not enhance learning nor will it change traditional learning environments into more relevant, innovative ones," said EDC's Babette Moeller, co-author of the report. "But we did find that technology can be used effectively to personalize the learning experience when it is part of a larger student-centered learning plan and when teachers are involved in helping them make the most of it."

The report also points out that there has been little research studying the effects of similar technology across different subgroups. The authors point out that such research is necessary before specific technology could be recommended.


 
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