Teaching with Technology

Most traditional-age freshman do not remember life before the Internet and for many, managing several media streams simultaneously is routine (for example, texting three friends at once while talking to another on a cell phone). College students expect technologically-facile instructors.1 Instructors who can participate in the technology culture of this media-saturated generation can have a very different experience of the teacher-student relationship than instructors who cannot. Instructors who, regularly hold “virtual office hours” and make course materials available over Canvas can have a different experience of their students than instructors who depend solely on the “traditional” modes of direct interaction and material-distribution.

A teacher who can, at least somewhat, meet students digitally may experience members of the “Net Generation” as Howe & Strauss described them: academically driven, family-oriented, interested in truth-telling and traditional values but skeptical of speeches and sermons.2  A teacher who insists upon doing things ‘the way they have always been done’ is more likely to have difficulty communicating with and understanding the motives and perspectives of these students. Although there are some mixed findings, technology is generally helpful in promoting learning and in increasing student motivation, self-confidence, self-esteem, and attitudes towards learning especially when students control their own learning.3, 4, 5, 6, 7


(1) Kennedy, G. E., Judd, T. S., Churchward, A., Gray, K. & Krause, K.-L. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives? Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/kennedy.html

(2) Howe, N. & Strauss W. (2000). Millenials rising: The next greatest generation. New York: Vintage Books.

(3) Wenglinsky, H. (1998). Does it Compute? The Relationship Between Educational Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Policy Information Center, Research Division, Educational Testing Service. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED425191) 

(4) Kulik, J., A. (1994). Meta-Analytic Studies of Findings on Computer-Based Instruction. In Eva L. Baker and Harold F. O'Neil, Jr., eds., Technology Assessment in Education and Training, pp. 9-33. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

(5) Kosakowski, J. (1998). The benefits of information technology. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED420302)

(6) Schacter, J. (2008). The Impact of Educational Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Education Technology, 2001. Retrieved from http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwche/Milken%20report.pdf

(7) McKinnon, D. H., Nolan, D. J. P., & Sinclair, K. E.  (2000).  A Longitudinal study of student attitudes toward computers:  Resolving an attitude decay paradox.  Journal of Research on Computing in education, 32(3), 325-335.

(8) Lewandowski, L.J. (2004). The successful job applicant: What Syracuse university seeks in new assistant professors. In W. Buskist, B.C. Beins, & V.W. Hevern (Eds.) Preparing the new psychology professoriate: Helping graduate students become competent teachers (pp. 127-133). Syracuse, NY: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Retrieved from http://teachpsych.org/Resources/Documents/ebooks/pnpp2014.pdf