A qualitative study of the perceptions of first year college students regarding technology and college readiness.
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College ready students have the skills and knowledge to be successful in college without remedial classwork. High schools strive to graduate students who meet this standard. However, recent college readiness indicators routinely contend that high schools are not meeting college readiness standards. Some high schools have adopted a 1:1 laptop initiative in an effort to promote college readiness.
Early computers were seldom used in education because of their impracticality. Since the cost, size, and functionality of computers and evolved in the last 50 years, computers have found a place in education along with mainstream adoption. Laptops are now used by teachers and students alike to conduct research, network with others, communicate, and demonstrate learning.
The study, based in the constructivist paradigm, used a phenomenological strategy to explain first-year college students' perceptions of the effects of a 1:1 laptop experience on their readiness for college and the uses of technology for instructional purposes by high school teachers and college professors. The study employed participants who had experienced a 1:1 laptop initiative while in high school for two or more years. Participant experiences and feedback were analyzed to answer the posed research questions presented in the study.
Methodology utilized in the study included interviews with fifteen participants from two different countries and five different high schools. Field notes were also collected during each interview. Data collected from each interview and the researcher's field notes were compared to identify themes. The themes synthesized from the research results helped to answer the studies research questions.
This study found first-year college students believed they were more college ready after experiencing a 1:1 laptop initiative in high school. The use of the school issued laptop computer for taking online classes was reported as a major benefit toward improved college readiness. The participants in this study also believed that their high school teachers implemented technology more routinely and effectively than their current college professors. Participants reported their high school teachers worked hard to integrate laptops into classroom lessons. Furthermore, they reported that professor's use of technology was inconsistent and often lacked integration in the classroom even though students were expected to utilize technology outside the classroom.
There are implications in the research findings for students, parents, teachers, school leaders, professors, and policymakers. The implications identified for each stakeholder group promote a more effective and productive 1:1 laptop adoption. The implications in this study for the various stakeholder groups could result in a more effective and smooth 1:1 laptop adoption and consequently enhanced college readiness skills for high school graduates.
Recommendations based on the findings of this study include utilizing the laptop computer to teach social etiquette and for schools to adopt a 1:1 laptop initiative as a thoughtful and well-planned initiative. These recommendations would maximize the 1:1 laptop initiative potential on college readiness. Schools need more information as they adopt 1:1 laptop initiatives to ensure the program effectively promotes college readiness for students. Furthermore, high school teachers and college professors alike need the skills and training to maximize technology integration.