From Guest Blogger: Lauren Moffett
Technology in higher education has become an integral part of a student’s learning process. No more are the days when research was done solely in the library, searching through books upon books for usable references; one just simply has to make an informed search online, and the world can be at their fingertips. Schools are even opting for complete technology integration with the use of online classes, where students perform all of the necessary class work in an online realm where everything is submitted digitally. Schools and professors also encourage socialization and communication through social media and online-collaboration tools. Technology and these "hybrid classrooms" are becoming a huge part of the student experience and one cannot deny its role in future students’ lives.
A recent study (PDF), performed by the New Media Consortium, has proven just how important technology is to the future of higher education. The article states that, out of the 289 individuals tested, 63% stated “that technological innovation will have a major influence on teaching methodologies over the next five years. In fact, technology will become a core differentiator in attracting students and corporate partners.” With new technology being utilized in everyday classroom situations, one can see the attractiveness of future technology and how it will draw students into classes.
Based on the article, more than two thirds of the individuals surveyed state that their institution offers online courses. More and more people, professors and students alike, are taking advantage of online classes, where all of a student’s course work is done solely online. The article online continues on to say that it is projected that professors will no longer be expected just to have a physical classroom environment, but also an online presence as well. These hybrid classes will promote a well-rounded and thorough understanding of the subject area in which students hope to excel, because of the dynamic nature of these hybrid classes. Students will be forced to, not only know the subject matter in the classroom, but they must also interact with the information online; this spectrum of various media (books, online resources, etc.) promotes memory and long-term understanding of a subject. “According to the survey results, online-collaboration tools, software that supports individually paced learning, and learning-management systems are among the communications technologies most expected to improve academics over the next five years.” These systems are very important when it comes to the hybrid classrooms because these tools are where students have an online presence when not in the physical classroom and with the projected growth in this area, one can see how higher education is shifting towards a digital realm.
With the increased use and embracement of technology in the classroom, one can see just how much of an advantage students embracing these new technologies will have over those whose institutions did not offer the access to new technology or the technical support to facilitate such great advances in education. With new technology, students will be more equipped for the ever changing technology driven world and will have a leg up on those of whom did not experience such advances in their college careers.