But what do students want from edtech?

In an interview last month, Justin Reich, a professor of learning systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said “charismatic technologists” have spent the past two decades hurling products at college students with revolutionary promises — many of which go unfulfilled.

That effect accelerated during COVID-19, as college was forced to become a primarily virtual experience with campuses emptied out and lecture halls converted into video conferences. “I think for most people, remote learning has been somewhere between disappointing and disastrous,” Reich told EdScoop.

Students’ recent views on educational technology, though, is a mixture of contempt and interest. In January, the higher-ed publication Intelligent found that 57% of college students felt their ability to learn suffered during the pandemic, with a majority also saying it became more difficult to get academic help. The survey also found that 60% of students felt their social lives were worse off for having to study from their bedrooms, and more than half reported experiencing mental-health issues.

But those results do not mean students are distrustful of edtech. A majority see it as fundamental to their success, according to a survey published in April by Inside Higher Ed. That poll found that of 1,413 students enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year, 73% said they’d be “somewhat” or “strongly” interested in some of their courses being fully online in the future, and 68% said they’d like to see more classes follow a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction. And 68% said they’d like to see more digital materials used in their fully in-person courses.

Benjamin Freed

Written by Benjamin Freed

Benjamin Freed is the managing editor of StateScoop and EdScoop, covering cybersecurity issues affecting state and local governments across the country. He has written extensively about ransomware, election security, and the federal government's role in assisting states, localities and higher education institutions with information security.

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