At one time in the not so distant past, books were the primary way of delivering information to students. The interaction was often limited – with a professor delivering a lecture at the head of the class.
The main point of this is that a student had to be present and paying attention at all times in order to absorb the information, which was difficult even before the age of the internet with its constant distractions. This model dating back to the 14th century was also not feasible for many pupils – books were expensive, and fees were required by teachers for their lessons,
While modern college and university tuitions are still prohibitive to many, students no longer have to enroll in programs that require them to be on site at all times – which also carries the costs of food and lodging. Technology has changed not only the method of how information can be delivered also the where it can be accessed, as students can now access classes and notes from a remote location at a time that’s more convenient to them.
Dr. Andrew H Campbell in Bellevue, NE, who has a Masters in Diplomacy in International Conflict Management from Norwich University as well as a Doctorate in Global Leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology, is a well-established speaker in both of the topics and readily embraces new technology as a way to reach more students while maintaining the quality of learning.
Flipping the Script
The concept known as “flipped learning” was actually introduced some time ago, dating back to the 1990s. Generally, it meant providing students with course material that they could review and reflect on before coming to class, rather than being provided the information during a lecture.
Flipped learning has benefitted greatly from technological tools. While text is still often a backbone of the material, rich media such as video and graphics help to provide a greater understanding of a subject before a student sets foot in the classroom. What that amounts to, explains Dr. Andrew H Campbell, is that students can spend more time applying concepts and collaborating on their findings during class time, rather than receiving the information and then processing it elsewhere.
Increasing Access to Learning
In some cases, the student may not have to arrive in class at all. Online degrees are becoming more popular, allowing students to receive instruction through the internet on any device they prefer, at any time they prefer.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of online degrees is removing barriers for those who can’t physically be at a campus, notes Dr. Andrew H Campbell. However, these types of courses still involve online lectures that can be downloaded for later viewing, as well as interaction through forums and taking exams online with time constraints added, although some schools still require people to be on campus for exams.
Changing Roles of The Teacher
In the initial model that was mentioned, the teacher was responsible for delivering the information and pointing out important material in books that students could follow along with. However, with the rise of technology and the vast electronic resources that can be tapped into at any time, teachers are becoming less central to the learning process and becoming more of a “guide” that keeps students on track with their online learning while still being available for clarifications, notes Dr. Andrew H Campbell.
This doesn’t mean the teacher doesn’t still play an integral role, he notes – it means they create more space for collaborative learning. This allows the student to take more control over their learning experience, and for the teacher to focus on personalizing the materials to be more relevant to the desires of the class.
Collaboration Is the Key
One of the main takeaways, says Dr. Andrew H Campbell of Bellevue, NE, is that the teacher is not being replaced by technology – but rather is able to better focus on the needs of each student.
While professors often are often relied on to tap into their entire knowledge base to deliver information, technology in the form of videos and existing online course material is filling the gaps, he adds. Thanks to connectivity through mobile devices and interactive whiteboards, students in a lecture hall no longer have to merely sit and listen – they become more involved in the learning process, and can explore ideas that previously would not be accessible.
Andrew H Campbell concludes that technology has had a dramatic impact on how the education system works, moving towards a much more collaborative interaction between students and professors rather than the previous standard and he is excited to see where new advancements lead in the coming years.