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High School Students Want More Tech, Fewer Lectures

High school students in the U.S. want more technology in classrooms, as well as more hands-on projects and one-on-one tutoring, but less lectures, according to a new survey called "Learn Now, Lecture Later" from CDW-G, a company that provides technology to the government, education, and healthcare industries.

CDW-G surveyed 1,015 students, faculty, and IT staff in May and June of 2012. About half of those surveyed were from high schools, while the other half were from colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical schools.

Sixty-nine percent of students surveyed at both the high school and college level said they wanted more technology in the classroom. At the top of high school students' technology wishlist were laptops and netbooks, tablets, smartphones, digital content, and recorded class lectures.

Students also expressed in interest in listening to fewer lectures and incorporating more hand-on projects, independent study, virtual learning, and one-on-one tutoring. The surveyed students reported spending about 53 percent of their instruction time in a traditional lecture model, about 15 percentage points more than how they wanted to spend that instruction time, which included about 38 percent traditional lecture.

In order to move away from the traditional lecture model, high school teachers expressed a need for more technology, with laptops and netbooks, tablets, digital content, and recorded class lectures at the top of their list. But in both high schools as well as colleges, they said the biggest roadblock to making the shift from traditional lecture to other methods of instruction was money. Access to technology for the classroom and a lack of professional development also topped the list for high school faculty and IT staff.

The report reinforces the disconnect between what students expect and what technology opportunities schools are able to provide for learning. Understanding how to use the technology students have available, as well as working to incorporate a variety of instructional models and providing professional development for staff are all recommendations the report makes to help bridge that gap.

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