Bill MacKenty

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CDW thinks technology adds value to education. And they have charts to prove it.

Posted in Educational Tech Design on 04 - November 2009 at 04:42 PM (14 years ago). 156 views.

CDW has recently released a stunningly well-colored report entitled CDW-G 2009 21st-Century Campus Report.

The report is an excellent resource for students, colleges, and IT folks to look forward and frame their ideas about where should technology should go.  With the one small exception that the report completely sucks.

Let’s pick this apart, shall we?

1. Thank you CDW (a computer company that sells computer stuff to schools) for telling us schools want and need technology. Never saw that coming…

2. You have erred in your idea of value.  Let’s look at this quote, found on page 3. “Students increasingly associate educational value with campus technology”.  This is perceived value and not actual value. We could throw smartboards in every room, but do they actually make a difference in student learning?. I’m sure students value not doing homework, having easy professors, and coming to class at 11:00am as well.  By the way, distance learning isn’t a panecea in education - you really need to think about how you use it.

3. Again on page 3, “Students rate faculty lack of tech knowledge as the biggest obstacle to classroom technology integration and see it as a growing problem”.  I agree, many faculty don’t use technology because they don’t know how - and support is hard to come by.  But I personally know many faculty who don’t use technology because it doesn’t fit with their idea of teaching and learning. Our math teachers like to use our whole-wall chalkboards to explain formulas.  Some folks in another department think that students should write down their homework instead of finding it on a lms.

4. Again, on page 3, “Just 32% of students and 22% of faculty strongly agree that their college/university is preparing students to successfully use technology when they enter the workforce”.  The “prepare students to enter the workforce” argument is the strongest point of this study. However, using the technology tools are secondary to critical thinking, evaluating and analyzing information (hi Bloom).

5. Page 8 “When it comes to the latest technology in higher education, faculty should look to students’ lead”.  Oh my God. No. No. no. no. no. no. twitter is not educational.

6. Page 9 is especially offensive. Why didn’t you ask “is technology making your teaching better?” or perhaps “does using technology increase student learning outcomes?”.  Great. 64% report teaching in a smart classroom. But does that make learning / teaching better?

7. Page 10: “When asked if their college/university supported distance learning, 72% of IT staff said “yes” compared to just 55% of students”. What the hell does IT staff know about effective teaching and learning? 

I’ll stop.


The real question, CDW, isn’t the presence of technology, but the effective use of technology.