Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tech Tools Pull Students into Learning

Newer technologies that can be adapted for educational purposes will enable higher education institutions to engage students more deeply in 2015 and help them get more out of their studies, in the view of Kyle Bowen, director of education technology services for Penn State University.

In an interview with Campus Technology, Bowen pointed to video production and networked 3-D printing as examples of the type of technologies schools should be exploring. “Some of the newer technologies, or even technologies that have been around for a while, are beginning to mainstream in ways that are helping us extend learning beyond the class,” he said. “We are starting to see a generation of tools, practices, and spaces to support this, and that’s where our opportunity is.”

Bowen said Penn State set up a One Button Studio, a self-service video production space where students can record anything they want onto a mobile drive—such as presentations, performances, creative film projects, or demonstrations—without worrying about technical aspects. Penn’s networked series of 3-D printers enables students to create and print projects much faster.

Among the advantages of using these technologies for academic work is that they allow faculty “to reclaim time in their classes—time they can recover from less efficient practices and reallocate it to teaching,” Bowen said.

Looking ahead to the new year, Bowen anticipated a rise in the use of digital badges and portfolios to recognize mastery of academic content. That will coincide with institutions offering shorter, more condensed courses, a trend that’s likely to affect course materials as well.

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