As technology keeps developing and becoming more complex, its uses keep expanding to new areas of communal life. In recent years, the use of technology in the classroom, while controversial, has proved far more helpful than harmful. Studies have shown that using certain technologies–especially when it comes to student collaboration–can help with engagement, focus, and interest in the learning. Here are some of the most common ways in which students are using technology in college.
iPads and Tablets in the Classroom
Many schools, aware of the importance of replacing unwieldy course materials with digital copies, have not only kept allowing students to use iPads and tablets instead of traditional textbooks but have set up laptop loan programs for students without access. This has not only allowed universities to save students the cost of expensive books but has opened up the possibility of a shared, more interactive learning experience both in the classroom and outside of it. For English majors, being able to use digital editions of books rather than physical copies helps tremendously, while many art students and designers use iPads and tablets for their design-related course work.
In the past few years, online classes have become more and more of a go-to option for busy, working adults looking to return to school, as well as students in far-off locations. Some of the most prestigious schools, from Maryville University to the University of Michigan, have begun offering online courses in everything from the core curriculum to countless electives. These courses come with online forums for students to discuss materials with one another, as well as access to collaborative online exercises that mimic the feel of being inside a physical classroom. Online classes have allowed many students who would not have otherwise been able to return to school the chance to finish their education or pursue a new degree.
With collaborative projects being the norm, the need for the classroom to adapt to new technologies is a must. Most classrooms now come equipped with audio-visual equipment, as well as the interactive experience afforded by online programs and course exercises. As education begins to trend toward the visual style of learning, more and more professors opt for highly visual, interactive multimedia materials to teach with rather than traditional textbooks and paper tests.
As in the office, the creation of shareable, collaborative documents and spreadsheets has changed the game in most schools. While before this kind of technology was in wide use students found themselves having to compare notes physically on paper, now, with the introduction of software like Google Docs and OneDrive, students are able to see and track changes and suggestions made to their work in real time. When it comes to doing a collaborative project, this saves a ton of time and confusion. Having access to shared documents allows students to get a better sense of how their work can change and become better through teamwork and creative suggestion.