Each year, new students enter the exciting world of higher education and bring along with them an updated list of demands. What are they demanding for the next four years? More technology in the classroom.
The need for technology in the classroom is driven by two forces – the increased cost of higher education, and the new generation of millennials.
Due to the increasing costs of higher education, institutions are required to change in favor of student convenience, with the traditional model of college being left behind for a more technological and flexible approach to learning (Van Der Werf & Sabatier, 2009). The increased costs require students to work while earning their degree, shrinking the window of availability for being on campus. With the majority of courses being offered in the “traditional” approach of in-person lecture style courses during working hours, students are forced to choose between earning a living wage or their degree to further their career prospects.
New millennials see their education futures built almost entirely around technology. Even students who welcome the traditional approach to higher education will still demand increased levels of convenience than the traditional student we have seen up until this point in higher education (Blackboard, 2013). Students will increasingly expect access to classes from cell phones, opting to monitor classes, participate in discussions, lectures, study groups, papers, and communicate with professors all online (Van Der Werf & Sabatier, 2009).
Though the majority of students can recall professors excluding cell phones, tablets, and laptops from the lecture hall. Technology in the classroom should not be viewed as an area needing to be banned, but a strength to educators and students alike. Students who learn from multiple modes of technology outperform other students who rely on individual forms, or remove technology form their educational environment (Cisco, 2008). Students are now able to provide digital presentations, have online textbooks, engage with others in the classroom via social media, and more.
Not only are there multiple ways for students to implement technology into their learning, educators should take this opportunity to explore all of the possibilities that are out there as well. Educators are able to communicate with students via social media platforms, reaching their medium and increasing the likelihood students will respond. Additionally, educators can encourage the use of sites such as Google Hangout, where students can meet virtually for book clubs, expand presentation audiences, invite in guest speakers, go on virtual fieldtrips, work on projects together and more. The opportunity is out there, educators only need to provide the methods of technology to the student, and the possibilities are truly endless.
In the year 2020, it is expected 40 percent or more (Van Der Werf & Sabatier, 2009) students will elect to take courses on-line, more than double the current rate. One challenge educators face is how they can connect students with the professor and the curriculum without meeting face to face on a daily basis, as in the traditional approach. Are institutions prepared for this drastic increase? If not, what needs to be done to bridge the on-line learning gap? What methods of technology will educators need to implement to meet the demands of these students?
B. (2013). The Changing Landscape of Higher Education. Blackboard. Retrieved from http://www.blackboard.com/cmspages/getfile.aspx?guid=862b51ef-86e5-4514-9e97-34bdfe520ff8
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Cisco (2008). “Multimodal Learning Through Media:What the Research Says.” Retrieved from http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/solutions/industries/docs/education/Multimodal-Learning-Through-Media.pdf
Pathe, S. (2014, September 29). Why Are Fewer People Going to College.PBS Newshour. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/why-are-fewer-people-going-to-college/
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Students Demanding More Technology in Education. (2012). ICEF Monitor. Retrieved from http://monitor.icef.com/2012/10/students-demanding-more-technology-in-education/
Van Der Werf, M., & Sabatier, G. (2009). The College of 2020: Students.Chronicle Research Services, 1-58.