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Technology in Classrooms: How Familiar are New College Students with the Pedagogy?

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Best of Computers in Education Division

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1179.1 - 24.1179.11



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Paper Authors


David B. Knight Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education Orcid 16x16

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David Knight is an assistant professor in the department of engineering education and affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on student learning outcomes in undergraduate engineering, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, organizational change in colleges and universities, and international issues in higher education.

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Cory Brozina Virginia Tech

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Steven Culver Virginia Tech

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Technology in classrooms: How familiar are new college students with the pedagogy?The digital information age offers endless new opportunities for learning experiences both insideand outside the classroom. Both students and teachers have access to new resources that may beleveraged to enhance how learning happens. Utilizing technology effectively in the classroommay facilitate new active learning opportunities, where information and curricula can be flexible,malleable, and quick to change. Because of this potential, colleges and universities haveencouraged faculty members of all disciplines to infuse learning technologies into theirpedagogical toolsets. Within undergraduate engineering, learning technologies have beenidentified as a means to help faculty members move away from the traditional “stand anddeliver” teaching method that still dominates the field. Though the opportunity to enhanceeducation via technology sounds promising, understanding the pedagogies that newundergraduates have encountered before arriving to college is important when consideringmaking changes to the pedagogies they will encounter during their first year of postsecondaryeducation.The purpose of this paper is to investigate the familiarity of new college students withtechnology in the classroom. Using both The Academic Plan Model and Contextual FiltersModel to ground this study theoretically, our work focuses on the influence that learners shouldhave on an instructor’s choice of pedagogy. If students have grown accustomed to traditionallecture modes of delivery in high school, for example, assuming they would be able to adjust to atechnology-laden pedagogy without having some support and instruction in doing so would beinappropriate. Thus, understanding new students’ past learning experiences with technology inthe classroom should help shape how university teachers and programs consider their ownpedagogical strategies.We analyze institution-level survey data collected from entering first year students (n=2,658) at amajor research institution. Data were collected from students following university admission butprior to matriculation. Students reported on the instructional methods they encountered in highschool, their level of comfort using technology for learning purposes, their familiarity withelectronic books for schoolwork, and their expectations for classroom technology use duringtheir college experience. In addition to presenting results for all entering first year students, wealso parse data by engineering versus non-engineering fields, anticipated major withinengineering, and STEM versus non-STEM. In each of these analyses we also investigatedifferences related to other pre-college characteristics, including a student’s race/ethnicity,gender, and high school grade point average.Implications of the study are directly applicable to practice in the classroom. Understandingincoming students’ familiarity with learning technologies enables university faculty membersand programs to plan their own courses appropriately. Investigating differences across studentcharacteristics, fields, and disciplines also provides information on the generalizability offindings so that we may understand how strategies might need to vary across an institution.

Knight, D. B., & Brozina, C., & Culver, S. (2014, June), Technology in Classrooms: How Familiar are New College Students with the Pedagogy? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23112

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