How learning technology can help you support and steer your students
Advances in technology have wrought many changes to education - and especially higher education - over the past two decades, with the internet blasting access to information far beyond the confines of the faculty library, and social connectivity literally enabling mass communication to occur at the click of a button.
The degree to which technology is used in classrooms varies from institution to institution and country to country of course, but it’s fair to say that in most developed countries tablets, digital notebooks and laptops are now a mainstay for students of all ages when it comes to studying. The McGraw-Hill Education Digital Study Trend Survey 2016 showed that over two thirds of students found it to be moderately important to use mobile electronic devices for studying, and other studies show the proportion of students using devices to be higher. With the cost, size and weight of devices decreasing, not to mention the spread of high-speed wi-fi across the developed world, the use of digital devices in class for note-taking and participation is also rising.
The availability of technology is opening the door to a revolution in teaching and learning – giving us, as educators, something of a super-tool with which to do our jobs. Technology amplifies our capacity, enabling us to connect and engage with large numbers of students in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible face-to-face. It makes it quicker and easier to disseminate material, keep track of participation, assess progress, give instant feedback, leverage competition, assist revision and so much more.
It allows us to lay the groundwork for specific modules and lessons in advance, and keep the minutiae out of lectures and tutorials, ensuring that key face-to-face time with students can be used to best advantage, for depth of learning, problem-solving, discussion and debate. In other words, we can let tech do the ‘telling’ bit, freeing us up to facilitate the ‘understanding’.
Technology also gives us a visibility over individuals’ learning that would otherwise be difficult to come by. It is easy to see whether assignments have been completed, concepts mastered, documents looked at and so on. This can help ensure that students keep pace with the course, rather than ‘binge learning’ just in time for an exam. A ‘just in time’ approach to learning may work for some, but in many cases, if a student falls behind they simply won’t get the most out of teacher-contact time, leading to a potentially irreparable deficit of deep understanding across the course as a whole.
Great in theory, but how does it work in real life? At a recent Digital Learning conference in the Netherlands we heard from a panel of practicing college lecturers about their experiences using our digital platforms to run their courses. It was fascinating – and gratifying – to hear so many real-life examples of how our software has been used for teaching and learning in such a variety of ways.
Take a look at our video capturing the discussions that took place and reach out to Rachel Gold, Head of Customer Marketing at McGraw-Hill Education ( firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to find out more about our digital platforms and how they can improve learning outcomes.
Content team, McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw Hill, a principle sponsor of The Chartered ABS Annual Conference 2017