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New Technologies in (and out of) the University Classroom

When I was an undergraduate student, there were only a handful of classes in which I used any form of technology during the lecture, and other than using a computer to type papers or conduct research many didn’t require that much outside usage either.
Now however, as mobile and computer-based technologies are continually becoming more and more integrated in everything we do, many in higher education are recognizing the need to incorporate these technologies into all aspects of learning—from using Twitter in the classroom to partnering with other colleges through blended learning offerings and leveraging mobile tech in different ways. No, new technologies are not a ‘magic bullet’ to increase participation or student learning, and some studies have shown that not all uses of interactive tools/technologies are effective, however, increasingly these technologies will replace the long-held ‘standards’ of the university experience.
For instance, yesterday the Pearson Foundation released the results from its Survey on Students and Tablets, which sought to “track students’ use, acceptance and preferences when using mobile technology.” In what was found to be a reversal from the same survey one year earlier, both high school seniors and college students now prefer digital to print when reading both for fun and textbooks for class.
Results also showed that 94% of students who own tablets believe they have high value for educational purposes—and around half would be more likely to read e-textbooks due to access to unique content such as interactive content and social network integration. Further, 63% of high school seniors and 69% of college students voiced their opinion that tablets will replace textbooks within the next five years.
There are a lot of theories about what the future of the university classroom (and out of classroom) experience will be like, and to date I’ve still only seen very few instances where an iPhone is required for class, but one thing is for sure—innovative approaches and the integration of technology in all aspects of the university experience are inevitable. At the very least, they’re already expected and preferred by many students.