Administrators unsure how to implement ed tech in classrooms

March 10, 2024
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University administrators see the need to implement education technology in their classrooms but are at a loss regarding how to do so, according to a new report.

The College Innovation Network released its first CIN Administrator EdTech survey today, which revealed that more than half (53 percent) of the 214 administrators surveyed do not feel extremely confident in choosing effective ed-tech products for their institutions.

“While administrators are excited about offering new ed-tech tools, they are lacking knowledge and data to help them make informed decisions that benefit students and faculty,” Omid Fotuhi, director of learning and innovation at WGU Labs, which funds the network, said in a statement.

The College Innovation Network, a consortium that supports higher ed institutions as they navigate technology, suggests institutions regularly conduct technology audits and seek feedback from students and faculty to help boost confidence when choosing ed-tech products. However, those practices are not in place at many universities.

One-third of the polled administrators said they ask their faculty for ed-tech feedback less than once a year, and 38 percent seek feedback from students less than once a year. Technology audits were even more rare, with roughly half (48 percent) of administrators stating they do not conduct annual audits.

The survey, which was held in conjunction with WGU Labs, a subset of Western Governors University, polled administrators on technology, its integration and how they are handling the rise of artificial intelligence.

The biggest benefit ed-tech products can bring, according to the polled administrators, is making classes more engaging. They also hoped the products would improve online education (37 percent), followed by believing ed-tech products provide greater access to support services (32 percent).

As generative artificial intelligence continues to become more popularized, the attitude toward AI is improving. According to the survey, 52 percent of administrators felt “somewhat” or “extremely” positively about AI tools, with 30 percent neutral and 19 percent viewing it “somewhat” or “extremely” negatively.

But despite these feelings, there is largely inaction when it comes to creating AI policies. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of institutions do not have an AI policy for faculty use. However, there was a slightly larger focus on student use, with 67 percent stating there was no policy for student use.

“Moreover, our data suggest that the lack of certainty around AI, and perhaps administrators’ lack of confidence around their ability to effectively choose ed-tech products, may be leading to administrator inaction to develop policies or action plans on the utilization of AI at their respective institutions,” the report states.

The survey also touched on the future of online education, with the majority of respondents agreeing online course delivery is here to stay. Nearly 80 percent believe institutions will offer more hybrid courses in the future, as well as more microcredential and certificate programs. Almost all the administrators (92 percent) agreed more time will be spent in future classrooms using ed-tech products.

“Higher education is grappling with multiple critical disruptions, and administrators sit at the center of these shifting demands, responsible for making campuswide decisions that have an outsized impact on students and faculty,” Fotuhi said. “This survey underscores the need for more resources to inform decision-making, which will help foster the broader adoption of ed tech.”



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