Insights into Education Technology Trends from the Experts

Did you miss our recent education technology webinar with Dr. Mike Hardin, Dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama, and Panasonic’s Art Rankin, Director of Projectors and the Higher Education Sector?  The conversations that took place during the webinar revolved around how universities can provide the best technology for their students and how technology can help universities stand out. We’ve captured some of the key insights from the discussion below.

The Changing Lecture Landscape

With many distractions in today’s world, there is no doubt the standard lecture format – and students’ expectations – have changed. In order to best handle this evolving landscape, universities must pay close attention to the rapidly changing attention span of students and tailor both the teaching styles and classroom technologies accordingly. According to Dr. Hardin, lecture capture, a system which captures professor’s lectures and automatically posts them along with the presentation slides to the class website, has been one of the most successful learning technologies at the University of Alabama. Additionally, Dr. Hardin foresees surface technologies, such as tablets and other handheld devices, as revolutionary to the classroom. Rankin noted that the best way for universities to implement the right new technologies is to work with manufacturers that can address the needs of students, while providing integrated solutions that fulfill all the institution’s broader technology needs.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD is a common concern among university officials. More than ever before, students are bringing their personal devices into the classroom. Not only does this raise issues with cheating, but it strains university networks’ ability to provide access to the vast number of devices. Hardin noted BYOD is even more challenging in educational environments, because unlike in the corporate world, educational institutions have very little power in asserting control over which devices can and cannot be used. According to Dr. Hardin, the best way to meet students’ and their devices’ needs is to work closely with the university CIOs and CSOs who understand how to effectively resolve BYOD challenges. Though universities cannot restrict the types of devices students use, they can restrict the time and place in which they use them. For example, many professors do not allow mobile phones in the classroom. Additionally, ensuring lecture halls are equipped with the latest classroom technologies will help to guarantee students are engaged in lectures.

Technology Adoption by Faculty

Technology adoption is different for each professor, but it is important to provide training to faculty less inclined to use new classroom tools. Dr. Hardin noted that the University of Alabama is seeing a trend in which professors who readily adopt and use new technologies are receiving higher scores from students in faculty evaluations. This provides even more incentive for professors to incorporate technology into their lectures. According to Rankin, Panasonic takes careful measures to ensure university faculty understand and use new classroom technologies, which begins with involving the faculty in the classroom planning process from the start.

This webinar was hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education and was moderated by Dr. Michael Zastrocky, Executive Director of The Leadership Board for CIOs in higher education. If you missed the webinar, you can view the recorded version online:  Webinar: “Technology’s Role in Honing a Competitive Edge: Trends and Challenges in Higher Education Technology”.