The Classroom of 2019: will technology become even more prevalent?

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ipadin-classroomCheck out this article from the Huffington Post! The president of Bethany College, Dr. Scott D. Miller, talks about the trends he sees taking over in higher education by giving us a look at what we can expect the classroom of 2019 to look like. He suspects that technology will become even more integral to higher education, what do you think?


Jessica Thompson

Sharpening the Educational Experience with Classroom Technology

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Many college students have grown tired of the routine class atmosphere, with the professor standing at the front of the class lecturing to a room full of students. With this teaching style, students not only grow tired, but they become distracted. A majority of students will bring laptops, iPads and cell phones to class, and because their professors teach in the same manner, these students can lose interest quickly. Studies have found that if a professor takes advantage of modern technology and incorporates it into their teachings, students will become more engaged in the material and will ultimately perform better.

Until recently, many universities and professors were hesitant to bring technology into their classrooms because they believed that students would be less inclined to take in the information. However, this belief has drastically changed, as technology is providing students with a better overall educational experience. According to Mike Rocke, Southern California University’s information systems manager, “In the past, where professors would show a generic video of a dissection, now they can broadcast what’s happening throughout the room and supplement the experience with other visuals.”

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Taken from Washington and Lee University.

Now, many universities have realized that having technology in the classroom and on campus gives their student body easier access to information learned from their classes and makes things more accessible to students across different majors. According to this EdTech article, at Washington and Lee University, students are required to take three science courses and technology has been used to “make the sciences accessible to nonmajors.” As such, the university opened it’s new IQ Center to promote this cross-disciplinary vision. The purpose of the IQ Center is to provide equipment such as high-speed cameras, 3D printers, advanced research microscopes and many more to reach students of different disciplines.The university’s 3D visualization lab, for example, “has made it easier for more students to view experiments taking place within the five microscopy suites.”

20120104Santa Monica 2 426 x 285Technology not only enhances a student’s learning experience, but it makes learning and sharing material much easier for students across a university. By using an array of technology in classrooms, professors will have more engaged students who are excited to learn. Technology also enables students to learn through materials shared by their peers, making them more prepared when class time comes and making help more accessible when class is over.

“More Test” Said One Person Only…

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A major issue that has been coming up in higher education is whether or not colleges and universities should consider standardized test scores in college admission processes. What used to be a universal way to determine if students were prepared for college-level coursework is now becoming a major topic of debate.

Taken from thevisiontherapycenter.com.

Taken from thevisiontherapycenter.com.

In a 2014 op-ed article posted by The New York Times titled, “We Need More Test, Not Fewer,” the argument is raised that “by allowing students to opt out of testing, we deprive colleges and universities of an important tool to compare applicants, and suggest to young people that self-knowledge isn’t important.” John D. Mayer, a professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, highlights several claims supporting the use of standardized tests in the college admission process.

Mayer’s article points to two common opinions:

  1. “Tests are our only way to study and attempt to understand ineffable mental qualities like intelligence, openness to experience and creativity. They help make the mysteries of mental life tangible.”
  2. “The SAT tells us something about how smart we (or our children or students) are.”
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The Joy of Learning, taken from Roanoke Times.

I strongly disagree with these opinions for several reasons. The first being that a grade on a standardized test does not equate to a student’s full potential. According to Dr. Camille Charles @CamilleZCharles, “the SAT is not an IQ test.” There is widespread consensus that the SAT/ACT are simply a measure of how well an individual has prepared to take the test and offers unfair advantages to students who pursue prep courses or advanced preparation in high school. Not only that, but many college students can attest to the fact that these standardized tests are not encountered again in any college curriculum and certainly have no connection to their first semester grades.

Hey, inventor Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything,” but succeeded in producing over 1,000 inventions. So what does that tell you? 


India Goodman 

Test-Optional College Admissions

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Today, more than a quarter of all American colleges and universities make standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT optional. Joseph Soares, professor of sociology at Wake Forest University and editor of “SAT Wars: The Case for Test-Optional College Admissions,” said this change has actually increased standards at schools instead of lowering them. Wake Forest University decided to change their admission process and went test-optional, and afterwards saw their freshman class students that has been in the top 10% of their high school go from 65% to 83% in a year. They also saw Pell Grant recipients double. “Our student body is more racially and socioeconomically diverse than ever before. Library usage is up, and classroom discussions are reportedly livelier than before.” 

In Thomas Rochon’s article in the U.S. News, entitled “The Case Against the SAT,” Thomas, who is the president of Ithaca College, explains how Ithaca has also joined the growing number of colleges that have incorporated an option to omit standardized test scores. “Our first realization was that test scores add relatively little to our ability to predict the success of our students.” 

This new approach can really have a positive outcome and encourage many students to apply and gain a higher education. There are many potential students that are discouraged from applying to colleges that require a test score. Maybe it’s because they are not comfortable taking the SAT or ACT. Whatever the reason is, Thomas explains how it’s suspected that many potential students who would succeed in college are not applying.

Research by psychologist Claude Steele, dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, has also states that underrepresented groups are more likely than others to be put off by test score requirements. If eliminating standardized tests as a required element of the application would increase the number of highly qualified applicants to college, increase the quality of the enrolled freshman class, and increase the diversity of that class…then what are schools waiting for?


Nancy Coronado

College Admissions: is there a way to make the process better?

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Andre da Loba for The New York Times.

Andre da Loba for The New York Times.

Check out this New York Times  “Room for Debate” opinion piece discussing ways to improve the college admissions process. There are calls to fix financial aid systems first, use a college matching system, have students signal preferences for colleges, and even abolish tuition at elite universities to increase application numbers. Is there a way to change the college admissions process, or is it functioning properly? You decide.

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or in the comments section!


Jessica Thompson