Tech-savvy college students hungry for more

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Technology is being described as the new education benchmark after research revealed that more than half of further education students said tech facilities played a part in their choice of college.

Conducted by Jisc, the UK’s digital champion for education, research and skills, the research suggests that students are embracing technology like never before and want to see their classroom become a digital haven.

Some 75 per cent of FE learners indicated that they would be happy for some of their lessons to be delivered by a robot, demonstrating the openness students have to new and developing technologies. While 62 per cent of FE students said they were happy with the technology facilities at their place of study, learners would like to see better internet connectivity (60 per cent), virtual lectures (42 per cent) and dedicated mobile apps (41 per cent) to make studying easier for them.

It’s not only the classroom that seems to be changing; communicating with teachers has gone mobile with 53 per cent using social media to stay in touch with teachers. Of those that do communicate online, nearly two thirds  use Facebook (62 per cent), nearly half use Twitter (44 per cent) and possibly most surprising of all, 17 per cent use Snapchat.

The research is part of Jisc’s Digital Festival, taking place on 9 and 10 March at the ICC in Birmingham, where 3D technologies and augmented reality for teaching and learning will be showcased, and topics including internet security for staff and students will be debated.

Martyn Harrow, chief executive at Jisc, said: 'Our research shows just how important technology is to students. FE providers need to ensure that they themselves are tech savvy and that education technology is on the very top of their agenda to secure the future of their institution. What that means in practice is change for the sector, but exciting change.

'Jisc is in a good position to help with this challenge and that’s why we’ve dedicated a day at this year’s Jisc Digital Festival to further education and skills. The Festival will celebrate technology innovation in the sector; encourage collaboration between providers and offer advice and guidance on using digital technology in FE institutions.

'Jisc is here to support FE providers through this ever-changing technology world. We’ve already started work on strengthening resilience and increasing bandwidth of our Janet network. This will mean that by the end of March, 92 colleges will have better internet connectivity – through our research we know that’s something students want to see. The Digital Festival will not only benefit attendees but will help shape how Jisc can support the FE sector in years to come.'