More tech for teaching

Over half of university staff want more technology for teaching, finds new survey from Jisc

A survey of nearly 2,000 higher and further education teachers shows that 61% of university lecturers feel technology should be used more in the classroom. Despite this, 14% are never supported to develop their digital teaching skills.

The report from Jisc, the UK’s education technology solutions not-for-profit company, shows both further and higher education staff want more time and training to improve digital skills, so they can use technology more effectively to benefit students.   

The poll also finds that 38% of HE teaching staff rate their university’s support for developing digital aspects of their role as better than average, and 26% below average.

Demanding workloads are also impacting opportunities teachers have to improve their digital skills. One lecturer says: “Workload is so cluttered during term-time that developing new digital teaching practice in response to student feedback during the semester itself is difficult/impossible.”

However, there is enthusiasm for using technology, with the poll finding that 61% of teaching staff describe themselves as among the first or early adopters of digital technologies for teaching, and that 51% rate their organisation’s digital provision as better than average.

The staff survey is a pilot that builds on Jisc’s student version of the report, which collated answers from more than 37,000 students about their experience of technology in FE and HE.

Despite the concerns of some teachers, the student report finds that 74% of HE students are happy with the quality of teaching they receive, although some become frustrated when teachers don’t use digital systems competently, especially when this wastes time or reduces access to course materials.

Paul Feldman, Jisc’s chief executive, says in a foreword to the report: “This is the first foray into uncovering the true digital experience of teaching staff in colleges and universities, and gives staff the chance to voice how they are experiencing their digital environment. 

“With the skills demands of the workforce being driven by ‘Industry 4.0’ – an industrial revolution fuelled by data and machine learning – it’s also important that education leaders fully understand whether their digital environment can keep up with rapid advances in technology and industry, as well as meet student and staff expectations.”

Feldman continues: “At Jisc, we believe that Industry 4.0 can’t truly succeed without an ‘Education 4.0’, and that our role is to help colleges and universities make the most of potential new and emerging technologies. We want to work with colleges and universities to see their digital environment through the eyes of their students and staff and act on that knowledge. Our teaching staff insights survey provides additional data to organisations, triangulating with the data from their student insights surveys.”