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Technology in the classroom.  What’s the new trend?

June 8, 2014

The use of technology in the classroom is not new but the ways in which technology is influencing the classroom changes every year.  The New Media Consortium (NMC) is an international group that monitors trends of technology in higher education and writes a report called “The New Horizon Report” each year that outlines the trends and challenges identified by their advisory board over the next 5 years (NMC, 2013). 

When I began researching the impact of technology on the post-secondary classroom, it was obvious that the NMC was a huge player.  They began their report by discussing technologies to watch, key trends, and significant challenges (NMC, 2013).  They identified several key trends to watch for such as massively open online courses, 3D printing, wearable technology but most fitting for me was the use of tablet computing (NMC, 2013)

I currently work for a post-secondary education company that supplies tablets (specifically the Windows Surface) to all students.  Upon enrollment students are assigned a tablet with all course books uploaded via e-text and can utilize this resource in the classroom to access their course material through an online learning platform, as well as, perform “real-time research” right in the classroom.  This is an invaluable tool to have especially since nursing has a focus on Evidence Based Practice which requires that all students be competent at being able to research and challenge ideas with up-to-date information.  The movement to a tablet (regardless of the type) has brought Evidence Based Practice to my nursing students finger tips. 

Our focus now is to encourage students to embrace the movement and realize their full potential.  It is true that the younger generation come to expect technology in the classroom and are able to function with it easily, however a large portion of my students are older adults returning to school to change careers, or after having children, or after immigration from another country.  Those students are not as familiar with the movement towards technology in the classroom.

One of the sections of the report about Tablet learning from NMC (2013) was in regards to the relevance for teaching, learning or creative inquiry.  In this section they talk about how a tablet can be personalized not only to the program of enrollment but also to specific learning needs through the choice of apps and other tools all in one place (NMC, 2013).  I learned a lot about different Web 2.0 tools and resources for teachers and for learners in my previous PIDP course and have already begun to implement the use of some of these in the classroom.  Slowly over time, as I become comfortable with the resources, I can pass more on to my students to assist them in their learning. 

As an educator in this environment, part of my job is to not only help coach the students through the material but help them access the information via new methods such as through technology.  If I can show competence and skill with these resources, students will be more likely to follow suit.  And let’s face it, I am a teacher who is relatively comfortable with technology but still gravitates towards the methods under which I was taught – the good ole textbook.  My job now is to refocus and join the revolution!

If you interested in reading more about the impact of technology on higher education you can visit the report yourself by following the link below or also can be found in my resources section.  

New Media Consortium (NMC), 2013. Horizon Report  – 2013 Higher Education Edition.  Retrieved on April 15/14 from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-horizon-report-HE.pdf 

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