Technology has become an integral part of our lives. It is hard to imagine going a day without using some form of technology, whether it is checking email, browsing the internet, or watching streaming programs. The use of technology in the classroom has also become increasingly important, as more and more students are becoming comfortable with using digital tools for learning. Many students now expect their instructors to use technology in the classroom to engage them in learning and support their academic success. In order to meet these expectations and provide a quality learning experience for all students, higher education institutions must adopt technologies that support virtual learning environments.
The Growth of Online Learning
In higher education, online learning is making inroads as an alternative to on-campus classrooms, and it’s easy to understand why. In the same vein that we’re seeing more people want flexibility in their work environments and schedules, students who take online courses want the flexibility to study at their own pace and on their own schedule based off when they are most productive. This is a great option for students who work full-time or have other commitments that make it difficult to attend classes in person.
Additionally, online courses often cost less than traditional courses, making them more affordable for many students. Online learning also provides students with access to a wider range of courses and programs than they would likely have if they were only taking traditional courses.
With no sign of this trend slowing, it’s crucial for higher education institutions to provide the necessary technology to support students through their online educational journeys.
A Digital Learning Landscape
The traditional education system has been relying on technology for a while now, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to online learning was hastened for many institutions. Schools must be adaptable and nimble with their offerings to help students thrive in this new digital age.
A highly popular technology that can be used for educational purposes is e-learning platforms. E-learning platforms are websites or software that allow users to access educational content online. This content can be in the form of text, audio, video, or interactive resources. Many e-learning platforms also have features that allow users to track their progress and receive feedback from instructors. Popular platforms include EdApp, BlackBoard Learn and Thinkific
Virtual Learning Environments
Another respected form of tech that can be used for education is virtual learning environments (VLEs). VLEs are similar to e-learning platforms in that they allow users to access educational content online. However, VLEs also provide a more immersive experience by simulating a real-world environment. For example, students in a chemistry class might use a VLE to conduct experiments in a virtual lab. Some popular VLEs include Second Life and Active Worlds Education Universe.
Mobile learning apps are another great tool worth using and are designed to be used on smartphones or other mobile devices. They usually focus on one specific task or subject area. For example, there are mobile apps that allow users to learn a new language, practice mathematics problems, or review material for an upcoming exam.
Institutions of higher education have long recognized the importance of collaboration among students. In recent years, however, the rise of digital technologies has made it easier than ever for students to connect with each other and work on projects together.
These platforms provide a space for students to share ideas, work on assignments, and get feedback from their peers. In addition, they can also help to facilitate communication between instructors and students. By providing collaborative platforms for their students, institutions of higher education can help to foster a more connected learning environment.
A great example is Adobe Acrobat, which is a natural fit as a collaborative tool students can utilize for group projects. Acrobat’s features allow for easy signing, commenting and markup from anywhere, making it ideal for remote collaboration. Students can individually access feedback from their teammates and instructors, as well as see all changes in one place. The ability to track changes also helps to keep everyone on the same page. Overall, Acrobat’s intuitive design and robust commenting tools make it the perfect tool for students working on group projects remotely.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, higher education institutions must keep up with the times by adopting technology that enhances the digital classroom and supports students. There are numerous advantages to doing so. For one, it creates a more engaging and interactive learning environment. It also gives students the opportunity to gain valuable skills that will be increasingly important in the workforce. Perhaps most importantly, though, it helps to level the playing field by giving all students access to the same resources and opportunities. By embracing digital technology, higher education institutions can ensure that their students are well-prepared for what lies ahead.