While the goals of higher education have remained consistent over the years, it’s increasingly evident that the tools used to educate college students are evolving at an increasingly rapid rate. Technology has always played an important role in educational progress, but recently, the higher educational system has taken the focus on technology to a whole new level. More than ever, college students are utilizing technology to not only enhance their learning experience, but personalize it to their tastes, styles and abilities as well. The following are five emerging technologies that will shape higher education today, and pave the way to innovative educational solutions in the future.
Kindle/Nook Concept Literature Mediums
While it may be a while before text books completely disappear from the syllabus, the Kindle, Nook and other electronic literature mediums are changing the way college students read, study and gather research materials. Not only do they save on paper, but they are huge time savers as students can quickly search for, download and keep reading material in one easy access device. As these devices become a standard in the classroom, the potential for reduced cost text material is an encouraging factor for many students living on a budget.
The iPad Adds Educational Inspiration
Similarly, the iPad has begun to replace standard notebooks as the primary method for taking quick and efficient notes in class. Additionally, this device is fulfilling student needs for downloading reading materials and accessing relevant websites for courses that require a significant amount of research and review in a short amount of time. This technology opens up the opportunity for interactive discussions in the classroom as students have simultaneous access to articles, videos and references that promote cooperative learning.
While students expect to have their nose in a book during their college years, technology that incorporates augmented reality has found a way to bring the virtual world right into the classroom. Augmented reality programs and applications simulate real life environments, situations or scenerios and can be activated directly to smart phones and iPads in the classroom. These programs open up a world of possibilities for students and professors alike when it comes to exploring different dimensions of science, architecture, mathematics or even geography in both a theoretical and visual manner.
Personal Learning Environments
It’s no secret that students learn differently. Some students grasp educational concepts through diligent note taking while others require a hands-on approach in order to really absorb important information. Technology has found a way to offer the best of both worlds through personal learning environments programs and applications. These platforms allow students to not only manage their school work, but personalize it to their own learning style, keep track of deadlines and communicate with others about projects, homework, or school-related material in general.
What was once-upon-a-time a mere alternative to a campus classroom is now becoming a standard form of higher education. More sophisticated technology is helping online classes to be just as effective, visual and interactive as large classroom settings. Not only do online classes offer the potential for lower tuition costs, but with flexible scheduling, easier access to professors and students as well as virtual research systems only a click away, they are quickly becoming the answer to accessible higher education that fits into a variety of student lifestyles.
With technology leading students and professors towards more seamless educational networks, paths of communication as well as efficient access to information, there are bound to be some major changes in the classroom over the next several years. With technology paving the way to a bright educational future, students are bound to reap the benefits one sophisticated application at a time!