This post was written by Erin Palmer, a writer for Bisk Education which was founded byNathan Bisk in 1971. Bisk works with universities such as Villanova University, a leading institution that offers online certificate programs.
For the most recent generation of college students, technology is a way of life. Having grown up with the internet and the evolution of mobile devices, today’s students live a life integrated with technology. With the growing popularity of online programs and social networks, many older professionals are also engaging in technology in order to help advance their careers.
Colleges are competing for both traditional and online students. As a result, educational programs are enhancing the use of technology to offer multimedia presentation, video lectures, class blogs, podcasts and other useful applications that were unavailable or underdeveloped just a generation ago.
Students as Consumers; Professors as Mentors
Students are beginning to shop for the best value for tuition dollars. Offering a course that is also videotaped and catalogued for easy reference, available for podcast and includes a blog or other interactive message board for additional assistance appeals to students at all levels. If a student can set a course of study and pick and choose topics necessary for a particular field, then professors transition into a mentoring role, placing students in the driver seat of a more individualized education. For returning students who have had extensive knowledge through professional development, flexibility is a strong selling point.
Programs that allow testing for introductory or pre-requisite credit, grant partial credit for professional proficiency and offer flexibility in subject areas are appealing to working professionals who seek specific courses of study within wider disciplines. Offering multiple course formats which are compatible with the technology most familiar to students not only makes the subject matter more appealing, but also makes good business sense for colleges and universities.
Expanding Collegial Networking
Offering courses in a variety of formats with blogs and message boards open by subject area allows for greater discussion across disciplines. Think of the incredible networking and problem-solving potential in setting up mentored educational experiences where international students can discuss topics such as sustainable campus innovation, engineering or infrastructure development via video chat and discussion boards across disciplines and countries.
In addition, students in business can extend the concept of a “classroom” into a network of action through local community projects, making a positive impact socially while gaining relevant real world experience. With courses arranged with technologies that make scheduling and pacing flexible, students can integrate the theory with the actions through community-based projects. College professors and community partners can form positive and powerful alliances with a virtual classroom and reference materials that are available from personal mobile devices anywhere a student happens to be working.
Educational Culture Reflects Societal Change
Since the days of Plato and Aristotle, education reflects society. Students are consumers and the best professors have always been keen mentors. With a student base that is more socially aware, connected and globally conscious than ever before, education will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the students who consume it.
In the coming years, the majority of professors reaching full professor tenure will have spent their entire lives with the internet. Online learning will have fully integrated into their lifelong intellectual and professional development. This evolution will bring additional classroom innovations as the technology continues to evolve alongside the intellectual applications of it. Through colleges of education and ongoing teacher development currently aimed at filling the gaps, K-12 classrooms will also become more consistently tech-based.
Education Will Evolve With Technology
The next generation of students, professionals and community leaders will emerge having utilized technology throughout their entire lives. Education will continue to evolve to reflect the needs of new students. The increasing tech-savvy of the new generation will promote further advances in technology, which will then be incorporated back into education. Technology’s impact on education will be a constant and ever-changing process.