Higher education is perhaps one of the most notable areas which integrated technology for its day to day activities and the progress in such integration is both fast and continuous. It is rather unpredictable for anyone to guess what the future hold although a glimpse of what is coming could be derived from present undertakings by the students as well as by higher educational institutes who strive to achieve the best possible technological integration to support modern learning.
From past to present:
Few years back, placing a personal computer in the middle of a classroom and letting students browse through it from time to time was thought of as being ‘technologically advanced learning’. Similarly, projecting slides on to a white board is also thought of as a technological marvel at that time. Certainly these are the giant leaps in technology in education, although at present, the technological integration has gone to the level where it decides how the students interact, seek knowledge as well as the way how teachers teach.
Trend towards enhanced classroom interactivity:
More and more institutions as well as teachers are nowadays opting for technologies which make the classroom more active. Thus, hand held devices which will enable the students to communicate with the teachers in the classroom, streaming videos which will support learning, other uses of multimedia to make the students more engaged would all be of demand in the future higher educational setting.
Trend to have knowledge at the fingertips:
At the same time, technologies which allow more and more information at the fingertips would also be in demand by the technology savvy educationists and students. Thus, advance browsers, eBook readers, smart phones, tablet PCs with internet access, Wi-Fi technology…etc will play a major part unless a new technological find rattle the predictions.
Trend to link up than isolation:
When looking at current trends in computer applications and its integration of web 2.0, it is possible to see the trend in integrating or mesh-up of several technologies to achieve a complicated task than using individual technologies to achieve separate tasks. Thus, it will also be the future in technology in higher education as more and more technologies will be integrated to achieve specific, multiple and complex tasks with more efficiency without the need to reach out for many technologies.
Trend to use ‘virtual simulations’:
Another trend in higher education would be to use ‘virtual worlds’ to disseminate a more immersive experience to the online learners as well as to improve interaction between class room learners. Life like animations, cool multimedia features, freedom to interact with others through an ‘avatar’ as well as its ability to simulate different learning scenarios would probably make it a much sought after tool in the near future.
Trend to make students, builders of knowledge:
Apart from the above, the current trends in social interactions and collaborative learning indicates to a future higher educational setting in which the students become their own teachers with increasing participation in the process of instructional designing process. Thus, in the near future, it may be possible to see students developing or helping to build their own learning content and play a more interactive role in the entire learning process through enhanced technological integration.