Teachers taking part in a new study say that today’s tech-savvy students have influenced how and what is taught in the classroom. These young people have also influenced their teachers’ knowledge about communications technologies. The study was conducted by the Salt Lake City-based Certiport, Inc., a computer training and certification company, in connection with EDC’s Power Users Initiative, and the recent United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society.
Certiport’s survey of high school teachers and college instructors in 382 of its testing centers showed that:
- 69 percent of teachers participating in the study indicated computer-savvy young people, or “power users” influence what they teach
- 66 percent said power users influence how they teach
- 84 percent of teachers said power users have positively influenced their learning and knowledge of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).
As a result of the study, educators may look to use technology in the classroom to better suit the learning preferences and needs of these advanced students, according to Joyce Malyn-Smith, a director of strategic initiatives for EDC’s Education, Employment, and Community Programs.
“This study advances our understanding of the unique needs and potential of students with advanced technology skills. Perhaps educators and governments should consider adjusting curriculum and teaching methods to maximize the contribution of these computer-savvy students as they prepare to integrate into the global economy,” she said.
The Certiport study was conducted in conjunction with EDC’s Power Users Initiative, a four-year project focused on understanding and raising awareness of young people’s use of technology. The survey findings will be used to assist policy makers in planning effective education and workforce development initiatives geared toward leveraging the strengths of up-and-coming Power Users. A synopsis of the survey report may be viewed online (PDF).
EDC describes Power Users as individuals distinguished by their self-selected, long-term, intensive experiences with technology. They think, behave and solve problems differently from others who have not had a special relationship with technology and they break out of the confines of traditional learning, demographic or technological barriers by using, sharing, and changing information in creative, innovative or unintended ways.
“The economic health and prosperity of nations lie in their ability to build basic ICT skills that qualify citizens to participate as effective members of the global community,” said David Saedi, president and CEO of Certiport. “In addition, a unique population of Power Users is growing globally. We must develop curriculum, training and credentials that help them fully develop and grow their contribution to local economies.”
For more on Power Users, download a report by EDC (PDF).
Originally published on January 1, 2006