The Digital Limitations of our “Digital Native” Students

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Nicole Barbaro, Research Scientist at WGU Labs, joins the podcast to discuss their recent College Innovation Network EdTech student survey and the surprising takeaways regarding our students’ digital struggles in navigating pandemic-related EdTech.

Despite this idea that all students areused to technology and they have grown up with technology for a long time, wefound that there's a significant proportion of students reporting thatthey're really struggling with all the new Ed Tech, you're. Listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to enrolment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Edu podcast network, I'm EricOlson with heeles education and we're here today with Doctor Nicol, BarbaraResearch scientist at w Gu labs. The goal welcome o the show. Thank you somuch for having me really excited talk o today about the digital limitationsof our digital native students. But...

...before we dig in, can you give thelisteners a little background on both wgyes and your rule? There Yeah G LABSIS A non profit affiliate of Western Governors University and we reallyfunction is kind of a research and development hub in the ED tech andonline learning space, and my role for about the past year has been with ourCollege Innovation Network Group and at the college innovation at work. We arein broad network of now. I believe, thirteen institutions we have servingover two hundred and fifty sand students where we help connect Ed techproducts to universities and identify what those student needs are and try tofill. Those needs with different ED tech products, evaluate how those areimpacting the student experience and really just trying to support the fulllife cycle of at Tech. Adoption to solve new problems in the highereducation landscape, love it Nicole to...

...kick off the conversation. Can you giveus an overview on your college innovation network survey that soughtto better understand our students online learning experiences during thepandemic? The CIN at tech student survey is the first and new series ofresearch studies that we're doing within the college innovation networkand our goal for the text. Student survey specifically was to take theopportunity that we had with working with so many different, diverse highereducation institutions, to really try to understand how students wereexperiencing online learning over the past year. Now that you know I was kindof this unprecedented near universal shift online learning and understandhow they're experiencing how they're using education technology to see if wecan come out with any interesting insights that can lead to more targetedstrategies to help students get the most out of their online learningexperiences. So our goals to keep running this every year and trying tokind of pick up on some of the nuances...

...of online learning and Ed Tech everyyear as we move forward, will be fascinating to continue seeing thislongitudinal results over time and interesting insights, you were correctNicol for you. What were some of the most surprising takeaways from yourresearch regarding the digital struggles of students that we may nothave assumed had many yeah, I think the most surprisingresult from this research. For me, it was that the implicit assumption thatstudents today, especially more traditional age college students, arequote unquote. These digital natives that have grown up with technology,they know how to use it, and technology has kind of been seen as almost a nonissue for students in terms of how they use it and them using it in theircourses. But surprisingly, we evaluated this novel concept that we're callingand tech self efficacy, and this is how confident students are in their abilityto learn and adapt to these new education technologies in their courses,and especially over the past year, with...

...students that maybe didn't enroll in anonline institution. Initially we're kind of thrust into an online learningenvironment, with a lot of new education technologies to helpfacilitate their learning experience. So, despite this idea that all studentsare used to technology and they have grown up with technology for a longtime, we found that there's a significant proportion of studentsreporting that they're really struggling with all the new Ed Tech.And specifically, we found that about. Twenty percent of students reportedthat they're struggling to use the new ATECH in their courses. We found thatabout a third of students reported that they were having difficulty keeping upwith all the new technologies across their courses this past year, and alsoabout a third of students, reported that most of the tech that theyencountered in their courses were actually new to them, so they hadn'tused these technologies before and how confident students felt. So thesemeasures about Tex, Elf efficacy that we had in our survey was actually oneof the most robust predictors of their...

...overall experience with learning, sothose that felt more confident those that reported not struggling as muchwith the technologies actually feel more prepared for next year. They hadmore positive learning experiences and overall, just had a better time. Evenin this, you know kind of weird year that we had in higher education. So notall students, love technology are really comfortable with it andacknowledging that there's a significant portion of students thatmay be struggling a little bit more is a really important insight that canlead to some more actionable strategies to make sure that all students aregetting the most out of their online learning experiences. The Co, what doespositive or necessary friction as part of the technology learning process looklike versus, where we simply need to get better at providing strongerstudent technology support. I think that's a great question and like anygood teaching practices, you want to push students a little beyond theircomforts and ease. That's really where...

...the learning happens, but we also haveto recognize that more scaffolded approaches that afford students alittle bit more creativity that allows me to push a little bit beyond wherethey are without being too overwhelming, is really kind of that ideal: sweetspot for learning. So within the text base. Although we assume that studentsknow how to use technology and in today's environment, we all usetechnology to some degree, it really will pay off for teachers to just kindof take a moment to ensure where are their students in terms of theirconfidence and their Adechat, their access to these technologies and howthey're using them to ensure that we're starting students at the right spot,where they can actually learn about that technology get the most out oftheir learning experiences, but without feeling overwhelmed and having theirlack of knowledge about the technology inhibiting their learning. So it reallyis kind of a sweet spot that we have to...

...find to push. Students will not pushingthem so far that they just become stressed out about learning theirtechnology and aren't focusing on actually learning the content. Anyspecific suggestions for faculty who are incorporating a tech incorporatingnew tech into their classrooms on how to approach that minding this research.That's a great question. I think the biggest a few key takeaways andstrategies to help students make sure that they're comfortable with attackand get the most out of the technology to enhance her learning is with any newtechnology. It requires proper instruction. So how that would look ina specific course is, rather than just linking to new technologies.Instructors really need to ensure that they're spending some timedemonstrating to students how these different technologies were, and alsoexplaining how those technologies are able to enhance their learningexperience, and this is a really great spot for say the first day of class,while you're explaining course...

...operations and how things are going togo in that class actually show them. The technology show them how to use it.Ask them to practice working with that technology and kind of early on lowstakes assignments to get them comfortable, while not being stressedout about you know a certain grade. That's attached to it, but making surethat students know how to use the technology. You demonstrate how to useit and incorporate that instruction of the technology in the course andintegrating some kind of low stakes, ways for them to engage the technology.The goal hers to really identify any friction issues or any access issueswith new technologies early on in the semester before it becomes a problemfor the students, learning experience so another way that I address this, Ialso teach on the side. So I do this in my own classroom is I have a intro survey, the first day of classand whatever technologies I'm using. That course, I ask every student: Doyou have access to this technology? Are...

...you confident in using this technology?Anything you want to know, so I can identify the handful of students thatmay not have access or may not feel very comfortable with that technology.I can address that before any assignments take place and see what wecan do to ensure that they have a better learning experience. So thoseare a few kind of simple ways. You can address that potential confidence gapearly on in the semester, Nicole of the advice for faculty. Finally, can we goup and n leave us with any next TEP advice, par institutions andadministrators in terms of how they need to think about providing betterstudent tech support? Overall? How should they approach this challenge?Yeah, I think you know. Our survey speaks to this a little bit and wefound that about. Forty percent of students in our survey did encountertech difficulties in the past year, and that includes either not having accessto the technology that they need or having trouble with the functioning ofthe technology when they were using it. Overall institutions are doing good. Wedid ask students, you know how helpful...

...their institutions were when we foundthat only about fifteen percent of students reported that theirinstitutions weren't helping them. You know adequately solved their techproblems, so overall institutions are doing well, but the tech support isonly one piece of the puzzle. It really is a holistic approach that you know.Tex Support plays an important role, so students having a contact if they'rehaving an issue with technology that they can, you know, reach out to andget some prompt answers. The other approaches within the coursesthemselves that are using the technology similar to what I describedfaculty, need to make sure that they're insuring their students are set up forsuccess early on in the semester and then also creating pure supportcommunities. Peers are a great resource as well. Students don't always have torely on faculty or administrators and staff at the institution. If youconnect peers with each other using some really great technology platforms,students can help each other with...

...issues as well. So I think reallytaking a multi pronged approach across piers within the classroom and withinthe institution overall can really help address. You know the multitude ofdifferent techno shes that students mancune the cold, wonderful thoughts.Thank you so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners toreach out, if they have any follow up questions, if you have any questionsfor me specifically, you can reach me at Nicole Dot Barbaro at Wu Edu. Youcan also contact the college innovation network overall, as well at C in at W Glabs, DOT ORG. If you have any questions for our organization morebroadly, and you can check us out in our work at Wu, labs, dot work for moreinformation on what we do. It's wonderful work, you're doing and we'reso excited to see the results in subsequent years, Nicole, thanks somuch for joining us today. Thanks for having me attracting today's new post,traditional learners means adopting new enrolment strategies. Keleks educationsdata driven enterprise, wide approach...

...to enrolment growth is uniquely helpingcolleges and universities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helixhas just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook,with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing and romant growth challenges download it today for free at HelosEducation Com play book, you've been listening to enrolmentgrowth university from helic education to ensure that you never missed anepisode subscribe to the show, an itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time. I.

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