Choosing Technology for the Mature Classroom

Mature students (aged 26 or above) have become a recent focus in widening participation. Mature students are often stereotypically viewed as having negative attitudes towards technology and subsequently avoiding it. Since HE is continuing to move towards a widespread embedding of technology, it is vital to find ways to make university teaching involving technology age inclusive. This paper presents the findings from a qualitative study exploring mature students’ attitudes towards technology and their motivations for choosing or avoiding technologies. The following research questions were posed: What are the attitudes of mature students to technology enhanced learning compared to younger HE students? and, What factors affect their attitudes and confidence with TEL? Students from a range of age groups were invited to be interviewed about their experiences of technology and technology enhanced learning. In total, eleven participants were interviewed (six of whom were mature). A thematic analysis was carried out on this data. Emerging themes have been identified surrounding students’ motivation to use technology generally, as well as choosing specific technologies. Further themes have been identified around barriers and challenges to using technology, the importance of familiarity and exposure, the design of technology, and its ability to facilitate interaction. These findings will be useful to educators internationally who teach groups that may include mature students, and are concerned with using and developing resources that are inclusive of mature students’ needs.

Mature Students, Age, Technology Enhanced Learning, Learning Needs

Adult, Community, and Professional Learning

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Rachel Staddon
    • PhD Student, School of Education, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom United Kingdom