Why College Professors Still Struggle with Edtech
Some striking recent statistics indicate that while 92% of educators say that they would like to use more edtech in their classroom in the future (because they believe it enhances student engagement and learning outcomes) and yet only 14% of them actually use digital learning materials on a week by week basis. College professors account for a large proportion of the educators who, though they appreciate the value of edtech, do not actually use it to teach. So why is there such apathy or resistance toward edtech in the higher education classroom?
One key reason is the power of tradition. The time-honored dynamic of the expert lecturer or seminar leader sharing their wisdom with a classroom of students, engaging with them, and motivating them to be the best that they can be intellectually remains at the heart of higher education. This model has its obvious strengths as it fosters a human relationship between educator and student while the former imparts their expertise.
The importance for students of being able to work with a ‘big name’ in the higher education setting is perhaps most pronounced when they come to choose a thesis advisor. Many higher education professionals fear that edtech will replace this traditional model of teaching, and so are resistant to adopting it. This need not be the case at all: edtech is not a replacement for human educators. When used effectively, it is, rather, a complement to these educators’ existing practices.
Another reason why college professors still struggle with edtech is a lack of training. Older generations of professors did not receive any training on edtech when they were learning to teach in higher education quite simply because edtech was not around at that time. But even in the present day, there is a dearth of training on edtech – both in the form of ongoing training for existing professors and in initial training for qualifying professionals. In sum: college professors still struggle with edtech because they don’t know the full range of edtech that is out there, and they also don’t always know how to use it properly.
It’s time for college professors to shake off their fear of edtech and, supported by a robust institutional IT team, to start to harness its benefits. As this summary shows, edtech has numerous advantages for higher education, such as boosting student retention, What do you think about the issue?