I developed my survey on Google Docs using the standard Likert Scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree) and other variations of the Likert Scale (e.g. never to frequently). Although it was distributed under the vague title “ED 601 Google Survey,” this survey presented a series of 10 statements that related to various aspects of Internet technology and classroom learning (see Appendix A for full list of survey statements and answers). It was up to the survey participant to choose the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the statements. The statements were carefully worded to avoid bias for and/or discrimination against any one opinion. I also ensured that all survey answers submitted would be 100% confidential.
My survey was built using drop down lists, where the first option in the list (1) meant strongly disagree and the last option (5) meant strongly agree. I found this format to be more favorable over the scale format for two reasons: 1) The Google Docs scale option only allows for two labels on either end of scale, leaving the weight of items 2-4 up for interpretation; and 2) Google Docs does not yet allow for my personal preference, a sliding scale option. Each statement was marked required to answer to avoid skewing any results due to missing or unequally distributed data. After their submission, each participant was brought to a confirmation page with a note thanking them for their participation and a suggestion to provide anonymous feedback. The survey was then shared via the ED 601 Class Website and as well as my personal Facebook page.
Although the assignment only required 5 people to complete the survey, I ended up with a grand total of 16 participants. I do not know the exact demographics of the participants as this survey was guaranteed to be confidential, however, the results lead me to believe that everyone who completed this survey had at least some experience with formal education and felt relatively comfortable using digital technology. When asked if they felt knowledgeable about technology, all 16 participants answered Agree or Strongly Agree. This was the same consensus reached when asked if they enjoyed using the Internet at home in their personal time. However, when asked about their general communication preference, more than half of the participants recognized they strongly prefer to communicate face-to-face, as opposed to using social media.
In a classroom setting, most participants Agreed or felt Undecided that social media should be banned in schools. Interestingly enough, however, over half the participants were recorded as saying they used the Internet to help complete school assignments Very Frequently and thought that paperback and hardcover books would not always be used in the classroom. At the same time, all but three participants Disagreed, Strongly Disagreed, or felt Undecided that classroom learning should be dictated by the teacher only. Meanwhile, all but four felt the same way about the Internet being the best place to learn new things.
Ultimately, people feel confident about their ability to use technology both in and out of school, and even recognize the importance of familiarity and responsible use. Every single participant Agreed or Strongly Agreed that students need to learn technology skills in order to be successful in today’s society; at the same time, all but three Agreed or Strongly Agreed that schools should teach students how to behave responsibly online. However, despite a strong draw towards using technology, there still seems to be some disconnect when applying it to formal education.