Professors Know About High-Tech Teaching Methods, but Few Use Them

Innovation is sweeping the world of higher education, but not all faculty members are embracing it in their classrooms.

A new survey from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has found that 40 percent of the professors surveyed use or are interested in using innovative techniques and technologies. But of that 40 percent, only half—or 20 percent of the overall survey sample—have actually used them.

The survey asked professors whether they had used various kinds of high-tech teaching methods, including clickers, the flipped-classroom model, hybrid courses, and social media or discussion forums.

One of the most-adopted new approaches, according to the sample, is the flipped classroom, with 29 percent of respondents saying they had tried it. Free course content also ranked relatively high, at 27 percent adoption. The highest-ranked category was group projects, though some could argue that the approach is neither technology-based or new.

For most of the approaches mentioned, the bulk of professors said they were familiar with the idea but had not tried it.

For the study, “U.S. Postsecondary Faculty in 2015: Diversity in People, Goals, and Methods, but Focused On Students,” researchers surveyed 3,971 faculty members at two- and four-year institutions.

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