Education in the Digital Age (CNW Group/OVH)

OVH, one of the top five largest cloud computing providers in the world, released the first set of findings from its OVH Barometer on the Digital Society. The Barometer polled 2,000 residents of both Ontario and Quebec (1,000 in each province) for their thoughts and feedback on the current state of the education system and how it can be improved by using digital technology.

Digital tools: Ontario interested in early integration
Among respondents in Ontario, the majority felt that the integration of digital tools, like tablets, smart phones and other connected devices, should begin in primary school (54 per cent), compared to Quebecers at only 37 per cent. Whereas, in Quebec, 50 per cent thought that the integration of digital tools should begin in high school. In Ontario thoughts on integration differed with age, with more than half of the older respondents (age 55+) indicating that digital tools in education programs should begin at the primary school level, while more than half of the younger age group (18-34) felt that digital tools should only begin at the high school level. Interestingly, 12 per cent of Ontarians felt the integration of digital tools should begin as early as Kindergarten.

Social media risk training for teachers and students
With the prominence of social media, 85 per cent of respondents in Ontario felt strongly that training courses on the risks associated with the use of social media, as well as digital reputation management, was important for both students and teachers. This increased in importance for older Ontarians (55+) at 90 per cent, as well as high income individuals (over 100k) at 92 per cent.

Note-taking apps top university students wish lists
When asked what types of education apps in university would be most useful, 46 per cent of respondents in Ontario wanted an app to help catch up with missed classes, for example, note-taking, pooling of students notes, etc. This was followed by an app to improve productivity (stopwatch, blocking social media sites, and more).

Parents want quicker notice on student absenteeism
The apps of most interest to parents of primary and secondary school students in Ontario included one which informed parents when their child is absent from class, as well as one which enables more regular follow up with teachers (34 per cent vs. 33 per cent). There was limited demand to track a teacher’s absence, less than 6 per cent.

Online courses are most effective with access to a professor
While interest in massive open online courses (MOOCs) continues, the majority of Ontarians (51 per cent) believe regular follow up and access to a professor is needed. Of the respondents, 22 per cent believe nothing can replace a professor in a classroom. Interestingly, the higher the income of the respondent, the more interest was reported in massive online open courses (respondents earning 100k+ were at 60 per cent, compared to respondents earning less than 40k at 45 per cent).

University campuses should invest in digital apps to make school life easier
A majority of Ontarians (67 per cent) felt that university campuses should invest to develop digital apps to make life easier at school – for example, room plans, course references, registrar’s office, social life on campus, etc. This sentiment was highest among Ontario-specific respondents aged 18-34 at 78 per cent. In Ontario, this was also more important for higher income respondents (100k+) at 80 per cent, compared to 61 per cent for lower income respondents (less than 40k).

Quebec is more interested in knowledge-sharing than Ontario
When asked if schools and universities should think about having their students barter help in one subject in return for help in another amongst themselves, (i.e. exchanging one hour of help in mathematics for one hour of help in English), both markets thought it was important in all levels of education (46 per cent). However, Quebecers were more interested in bartering than Ontarians (50 per cent vs. 41 percent). Women also skewed higher than men when it came to knowledge-sharing.