The classroom has changed—and now there’s proof. A new survey by Inside Higher Ed, tracking professors’ attitudes towards educational technology and new teaching methods, has revealed that more and more instructors are becoming comfortable with being the first to try new teaching tools, a result that echoes Top Hat’s own yearly poll of higher education professionals, the Professor Pulse survey.

Nearly nine out of ten faculty (88 percent) said they would consider adopting educational technology in class either wholesale or depending on others’ results, while one in three faculty members further described themselves as “early adopters,” according to the survey, released today.

A total of 32 percent also said they fully supported the increased use of new educational technology in classes, putting themselves at the top of a five-point Likert scale that measured comfort with edtech. Forty-three percent told the survey they somewhat supported the use of educational technology.

Those who support technology offer several reasons. A total of 60 percent of respondents said that they liked to experiment with new instructional methods and tools, while 58 percent said student engagement increased when they used technological tools in class and 57 percent pointed to prior success with edtech.

Early adopters to new technology could be found in all disciplines, areas of study, and across those with tenure status.

The survey also covered attitudes on the effectiveness of online-only education and OER adoption. Among the other findings, 44 percent of instructors said they had taken an online course (up 14 percentage points from 2013), 38 percent said they had used blended learning in higher education, and 83 percent agreed that textbooks and course materials were too expensive.

Top Hat’s own Professor Pulse survey covers the attitudes towards technology, teaching and student engagement from 2,000 professors across North America, specifically focusing on the application of edtech tools.

Of those surveyed for the 2018 Professor Pulse survey, a total of 76 percent incorporate digital material into their lessons, and 81 percent are using technology to improve active learning in class. Student engagement and active learning were among the reasons instructors adopted technology.

Jacques Berlinerblau, professor in the school of foreign service at Georgetown University and author of Campus Confidential, said that the numbers were “heartening… These responses, to me, represent a kind of victory for the active learning movement. I think it has really taken hold, which is amazing because it’s been largely a leaderless movement.”

The most popular usages of technology in teaching were learning management systems (76 percent), slides (71 percent) and mobile devices (35 percent). Only four percent of respondents to the Professor Pulse survey said they used no technology in teaching.

For more on the Professor Pulse survey, and to download the full data, click here.

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