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Key Trends Driving Technology in Higher Education

by SUMMIT on May 20th, 2015

Key Trends Driving Technology in Higher Education

As a tech-driven society, new innovations are introduced in every aspect of our life, seemingly every day. The education field is no different. With greater access to rich, multimedia content, more interactive teaching methods and the power of better collaborative tools, technology is definitely reshaping higher education.

The latest NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition, released earlier this month, states that universities are responsible to build and grow corporate values around innovation, “to foster environments that accelerate learning and creativity,” and “to create the conditions for innovation to happen.”

The annual report, jointly released by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), is the product of continuing research by a panel of higher ed experts, highlighting the trends that will have the most impact in higher education in the coming years.

Here are the top five trends to watch.

Cross-Institution Collaboration to Expand Learning

According to the Horizon report, “Collective action among universities is growing in importance for the future of higher education.” Many colleges are teaming up to take collaborative steps towards shared goals in teaching, research and technology. This creates a richer learning environment for students who benefit from these diverse alliances.

Data-Driven Methods Will Measure the Effectiveness of Learning

Collecting and analyzing big data sets on students’ online interactions could personalize learning. Utilizing big data tools can help pinpoint and address difficulties students have, such as low-performance, to “assess factors affecting completion and student success.” It also helps give students a more active role in their learning. The conclusions from these data analysis tools will help educators see what learning methods and interventions are most effective. And perhaps more importantly, which are not.

Open Educational Resources Will Grow

Open educational resources are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” These valuable resources have already been used by high profile universities such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard. Many schools make course materials available free of charge online, while others encourage students to collaborate in social media forums. The open learning concept is catching on with more institutions following suit.

Hybrid or Blended Learning Approach Becomes Popular

Blended models for sharing education, which provides a mix of online and face-to-face methods, is growing as a popular approach for universities. The report cites the University of Central Florida, where the blended approach was “most successful in ‘unbundling’ the classroom.” Students found that teachers were more accessible when the material was posted online and there was more regular back-and-forth communication in these virtual environments.

Classrooms Get Redesigned to Adjust to Tech Innovations

New learning models are emerging, such as ‘flipped learning,’ where courses take place online and professors use face-to-face classroom time to answer questions and discuss homework results with students instead of just lecturing. An increase in video collaboration and web conferencing requires better infrastructure, connectivity, and equipment. Soon there will be more colleges and universities investing in tech-enabled learning spaces. And due to this, the report says, classrooms will “start to resemble real-world work and social environments that facilitate organic interactions.”

Some of the oldest universities are embracing the 21st century by harnessing the power that technology and new innovations can provide to give students a richer experience. The generations of today and tomorrow are growing up around technology and now these new higher education learning practices will equip them with the right tools for future success.

Photo Credit: microtechsoft via Compfight cc

From → Education, Technology

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