Collaboration and the Classrooms of Tomorrow

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a seminar on Windows 10 and how it will impact the workplace of tomorrow. The session was both interesting and insightful and it got me to thinking about advancements in technology are changing the way classroom learning at colleges and universities is evolving.

And as the great musical poet once noted – the times they are a-changin’.

Today’s campus environments are now the domain of millennials. And it’s not just the students, many of the campus staff fall in the same demographic. One of the often-referenced traits of millennials is their desire to feel personally empowered in just about every aspect of their lives.

Of course, the sense of self-empowerment is all centered around their smart device. Wherever they go on campus, they will bring their own devices with them. This then puts the onus on the university to provide the right environment in which today’s students can thrive.

Implications for the classroom

No professor or instructor can be truly effective if he or she is unable to connect with their students in a meaningful way. In 2019, students have an expectation of engaging through the latest technology. As a result, the role of technology has become critical as a tool to empower not only students but also professors, allowing them to be more effective with the instruction time they have.

An excellent example of how advanced technology in the classroom is transforming the learning experience can be found in the collaborative nature of post-secondary learning. It’s no longer a ‘one-way street’ where a professor lectures and students take notes.

Today, students can connect and contribute from overseas, at home, or just about anywhere. It also opens up learning possibilities that previously simply would have been thought impossible. Imagine a scenario where the instructor may say, “Hey, let’s see the Museum of Anthropology in Italy,” and through a real-time video conference connection, they are able to take a virtual tour. How much more plugged in do you think these students would be than simply by listening to a lecture based on a chapter in a textbook?

Preparing today for tomorrow’s classroom

It goes without saying that no two campus environments are exactly alike. Some professors are already tech-savvy and they want an ecosystem that empowers them to use it. Others aren’t as far along the adoption curve and require help with strategies and tactics on how to increase adoption. This is where IT can really make a difference – bringing forward training and ideas to help bring concepts to life. The key point I took away from the session I attended recently was that no matter where you may be on the adoption curve, the connected classroom is going to be the norm sooner than later. Therefore, those responsible for campus IT need to be forward thinkers and focus on long-term strategy, finding ways to move beyond the day-to-day tactics and activities.

The reality is that all post-secondary institutions are funded based on student enrollment. So ensuring the long-term viability of any institution lies in creating a campus environment that will attract both the brightest students and top instructor talent to these schools. Those that continue to employ 19th Century classroom practices in a world where millennials have 21st-century expectations are going to find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage.

I feel lucky to be part of a team at Compugen with expertise in designing and implementing technology solutions – with the goal of enabling our customers to give great experiences to their own customers. Share your learning and teaching goals, and we’ll help you with ideas to bring them to life. If you are intrigued by the ideas I’ve mentioned, feel free to reach out and let’s start a conversation.

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