Thursday, March 08, 2007

My thoughts on the future direction for the use of academic technologies in academia

The next five years will see an increase in pervasiveness of new media and technologies in academia. Ubiquitous computing will also play an important part in the learning process allowing anywhere, anytime portable learning which will better meet the learning styles of students.

The trend towards more simple and intuitive interfaces will make it even easier for almost anyone to use technology and create classroom media. However, time constrains, technology skills, and interest will still play a part in faculty’s adoption of new media and technologies. To help, more campuses will form technology enhanced support centers whose job it will be to tutor faculty in the use of technologies and software, and aid in the creation of media for traditional and online classes. These support centers will be a rich resource for faculty and promote learning communities, collaboration, and mentoring. In addition, technology support centers will also be a place for students to enhance their technology and software skills.

Faculty now have suitable tools to present difficult concepts in understandable ways. The learning process can become more engaging and meaningful for students, thereby enhancing the assimilation and retention of knowledge, and having a real impact on retention rates. While great sales pitches and ads tempt us to be premature adopters, I am hoping that judicious use and application of good pedagogical principles will persist. Technologies and multimedia used for their own sake initially may have a wow factor, but in the end do not enhance the educational experience. Appropriate, thoughtful use of new media and technologies impacts the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction.

The omnipresence of technology will become more prevalent in our lives and new technologies and media will continue to enhance education. As long as sound pedagogical principles are at the foundation the next five years will bring positive enhancements to instruction.

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