In the recent survey conducted by Campus Technology titled the “2017 Teaching with Technology Survey,” tech devices drew the spotlight in terms of usability and fitness of for teaching. Unsurprisingly, smartwatches were considered the least valuable tech device for the classroom.

Although laptops topped the list of “value of computing devices for teaching and learning,” it came in second in the list of “hardware used in learning environments.” The top item on that list was “traditional desktop computers/workstation.”

The survey asked teachers and faculty how they use technology, how long do they use it and what type of tech device they use. Even though smartwatches make up almost one-third of all wearable sales, this bold idea and innovation does not seem to have a place in the classroom.

There were 232 faculty members from across the country who participated in the survey. They were asked about their use of technology in the classroom, particularly their likes and dislikes. The majority of the respondents taught in public colleges and universities, with 28% teaching at private nonprofits, and 4% at for-profit schools; 72% of the teachers were from 4-year institutions, 26% taught at community colleges, and the remaining 2% were from “other” institutional levels.

Respondents came from different age groups, with around 47% teaching for more than 20 years; an aggregate 81% have been teaching for more than 11 years. The most common school types are education (22%), business (17%), and liberal arts (12%).

Most Valuable Device for Learning, Laptop

Laptop and smartwatch with thumbs up and down

When asked what devices were most valuable for teaching, the various devices were graded according to being “essential,” “valuable,” “so-so,” “not very valuable,” and “detrimental.” The most popular were laptops, which were considered “essential” by 54% of the teachers. This was followed by workstations, which were defined as higher-end and more powerful computers. These were followed by all-in-one computers, traditional desktops and detachable tablets. Of lesser importance were mobile phones, virtual desktops and thin clients, Chromebooks (laptops running Google’s Chrome OS used mainly for internet-connected or cloud-stored activities), and e-readers. Bringing up the rear were smartwatches.

There were no “essential” answers for smartwatches – 9% considered it as “valuable,” 21% said it was “so-so,” 61% responded it was “not very valuable”, and only 9% scored it as “detrimental.”

It is worth asking whether the smartwatch would ever be of any use in a classroom setting. Teachers were also asked what were the “hardware used in learning environments.” The smartwatch was not included in the list. Although laptops topped the list of “value of computing devices for teaching and learning,” it came in second in the list of “hardware used in learning environments.” The top item on that list was “traditional desktop computers/workstation.”

The different questions asked in the survey, as well as the answers, give an idea of how technology is being used in teaching and learning, as well as how these are evolving. It is expected that as new technology is introduced to the market, and new topics are discussed in the classroom, the listing will change accordingly.

The first Teaching with Technology Survey was conducted last year, and there were subtle differences between which happened in the span of a year. The lineup for most valuable for teaching and learning was practically the same as last year. What was different was the significant change to 54% of respondents who considered laptops as “essential,” this was an increase from 49% last year.

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