Some results of my State of Technology Survey

Thanks to everyone who took part in my sample State of Technology Survey yesterday. I am working on a survey for my students as part of a year-long inquiry project that will be examining how young people may be using technology out of school and if they bring those skills to the table when composing and creating inside of school.

There were 92 people who took part in my survey, mostly via Twitter and my blog, but also through my network of National Writing Project technology liaisons. So, the results are somewhat skewed in favor of us techies. What I wanted to know was whether the survey w0rked and if folks had any suggestions for improving it (they did — thank you).

A few things jump out at me. First, unlike many of our students who use cell phones and mobile devices as the source of their technology (this is something I want to find out from my own survey), we adults still are mostly straddled to our desktops/laptops for our technology. Second, not too many of us are doing online gaming, which is a huge part of technology in the lives of some kids (and a lot of boys). Finally, we spend more than three hours per day with the screen. If you think about that, that is a lot of time.

Here are some of the data graphs:

I also asked an open-ended question about why one would use technology. There were plenty of answers around ease of use, and being connected, but here are a few other responses that jumped out at me.

* Technology opens up my options for expressing myself.  I like options so I choose technology.  I would probably use technology that I feel comfortable with, in order to get my point across more clearly.
* I’m more efficient in conveying my thoughts via technological tools, and since most of the school I’ve taken lately has been via distance, I prefer to collaborate on projects online (via things like GoogleDocs) than in isolation. Also, I like the social nature of doing projects with technology, with a wider sense of authorship and audience.
* Using technology makes my projects come to life. I am not an artist, but I can do a project with tech that lets me be creative in other ways than the typical projects that are assigned- which you need to have artistic skills to do well on.
* I’ve worked in technology use since 1984. It provides me a common language with many students. Though other purposes and ends may be met, technology is a guaranteed end of the world they will inhabit once they leave my classroom
* Why wouldn’t you use technology?  Technology allows me to write, edit, revise and display information in a very unique and professional way.
* It makes sense to have the tools in the palm of your hand (especially when using perhaps an iPod touch or iPad). It keeps me connected with the rest of the world, and mostly it is how I do business.
* I can’t imagine doing anything without a computer these days, be it word processing, research, getting feedback, the visual component you can add, the interactivity available using different technologies…
* Technology is exciting. When I went to school we did not even have calculators. Students today will be using technology at work not even invented today. We have to make them aware of everything that is out there. How do we prepare them for the real world otherwise.

Peace (in the data),
Kevin

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