Students keen to learn new tech skills

Use of Technology

HOT SPOT: Deanndra Pillay and Nikita Daya, studying actuarial sciences, use their technological devices to study for a test at the coffee shop in Senate House. Photo: Dana Da Silva

Many students are keen to learn new skills but aren’t being given the chance to do so. This was one of the findings of a recent survey which assessed what kinds of technologies students have access to and what they use it for.

Conducted by the Wits elearning unit and the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) during this year’s Orientation Week in February, the survey yielded some interesting insights.

“79% of first years have cellphones”

Liana Meadon, an education developer at the elearning unit, says the survey revealed that students want to improve their critical digital literacy by knowing how to communicate through emails, being able to assess if a source is reliable and how to use technology to further their academic studies.

One of the issues raised is that academics don’t equip with certain skills. Students rate themselves low on the skills ladder because they are not required to use skills during the learning process.

The survey results are still being finalised  but the first year data has so far showed that 79% of first years have cell phones, while iPads don’t feature very high. Surpring to some, it also revealed that Witsies aren’t gamers, they don’t own their own gaming devices and don’t spend time playing games offline and online.

“We can’t run away from tech, it is here and as Wits we need to embrace tech with teaching and learning more fully,” says Meadon.

The elearning unit incentivised participation in the survey through a competition where students could win iPods, iPads and coffee vouchers. The winners of the survey were announced yesterday afternoon in front of the Wits Great Hall.