Use of Digital Technologies in Graphic Communication Education

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Virginia Tech

This study investigated the use of digital technologies in secondary and post-secondary graphic communication education. Specifically it investigated: 1) the extent to which graphic communication educators utilized digital technologies in conjunction with instruction; 2) how selected factors affected graphic communication teachers' implementation of digital technologies in their instruction; and, 3) how selected factors affected teacher and learner-centered instructional practices.

The Levels of Technology Implementation (LoTi) and "Technology Use Survey" instruments were administered to secondary and post-secondary graphic communication educators via the Web to assess: 1) the frequency of use of 17 different digital technologies; 2) the nature and level of digital technology implementation; 3) current instructional practices; and 4) demographic characteristics.

Graphic communication educators (n = 191) responding to the survey utilized a wide variety of digital technologies as part of their instruction. The data indicated that most students in graphic communication classes use computers, page layout software, and the Internet (for accessing digital content) "almost daily." Most graphic communication students were creating and/or editing vector and raster graphics "several times a week." Most graphic communication teachers reported student use of digital still cameras, digital instructional tutorials and the Internet (to solve technical problems) was limited to "several times a month," while most students were creating digital multimedia projects only "several times each year." Most respondents chose "never" to describe students' use of: digital video cameras, digital drawing tablets, creating and/or editing Web pages with a WYSIWYG or HTML editors, digital spreadsheets, digital databases, and digital animations. Findings from this study further indicate graphic communication educators demonstrate high to extremely high skill levels using computers for personal use and implement digital technologies in ways that begin to shift the learning environment from teacher-centered to student-centered, but may not be effectively updating their curriculum to reflect current graphic communication industry workforce needs.

Digital Technology, Levels of Technology Implementation, Graphic Communication, Learner-Centered, Student-Centered