Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cloud Computing

Emerging Trends That Will Push More Technology into Higher Education

Cloud Computing
Technology in the classroom is improving the line of communication between professor and student.

Recently the New Media Consortium published its annual higher education report. Much of the report focused on emerging trends in technology, their uses in both online and classroom settings, and the positive impact that is being derived from this higher science.

Promoting the momentum in adopting a variety of technological platforms is seen as a group effort. Social media is finding a place in higher education as a way for professors and administrators to interact with students outside the traditional classroom. For example, Vanderbilt University has a dedicated YouTube channel allowing viewers to see the inter-workings of certain areas of the campus, while at Texas State University, Facebook and Twitter have been incorporated as learning platforms.

Through social media, students and educators are generating large amounts of untapped data which has the potential to reveal algorithms that ultimately can assist in individualizing the learning experience. Universities hypothetically have the ability to use this information to increase the success and graduation rate for at-risk students.

While online learning has been seen as a realistic alternative to a traditional classroom setting for sometime now, there are still strides to be made in improving and integrating specific asynchronous and synchronous tools. Studies have shown that it is vital for professors and students to be able to interact while online through eye contact, body language and additional human gestures to build a strong unspoken connection.

For more information on emerging trends in technology, please contact Labyrinth Learning today.

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How Technology Is Changing the Higher Education Experience

How Technology Is Changing the Higher Education Experience

How Technology Is Changing the Higher Education ExperienceThe introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) within the last several years has already begun to revolutionize higher education. Yet, among many educators, there is an ongoing battle concerning the integration of  technology in higher education versus a traditional classroom setting.

Due to the popularity of MOOCs, symposiums are being held all across the nation to discuss the viability of online learning as it relates to accessibility. MOOCs are now affording groundbreaking opportunities to people from all demographics, who are simply looking for easier ways to access higher education.

Stanford University has been at the forefront of testing and experimenting with technology in higher education. Because digital educational delivery mechanisms include the capacity to track, store and measure the effectiveness of MOOCs, Stanford began offering certain online courses and then analyzed the data amassed.

The ability to determine what sections of a classroom lecture were being repeated by the majority of participants alerted educators to review that segment and to conclude what, if any, changes needed to be implemented. Online courses require exact precision from both student and educator, realizing attention to detail must be paid and that gray areas can not be tolerated.

Other challenges detailed by the Stanford study are the ability to keep students engaged through online interpersonal communication. This include research on how to make this teaching method viable for smaller colleges with limited technology budgets.

Labyrinth Learning is here to keep you in the know on all the latest higher education technology. Please contact us today for more information.

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The Benefits to Asynchronous Learning

The traditional form of learning in a classroom setting has already been demonstrated as useful in an online format. While these interactive – or synchronous – forms have held sway in the educational community for the last several centuries, it is the new, asynchronous form that is leading the way in the online community of the 21st century.

Asynchronous learning is changing the way that modern students approach course material.

Here are just a few benefits to asynchronous learning:

It is Unbiased – Teachers are people and will exhibit their biases whether they realize it or not. Asynchronous seminars avoid this problem altogether as there is no “face-to-face” interaction between teacher and student. This means no cultural bias and no bias against those in other time zones.

They are Available 24/7 – The world no longer runs on a 9-to-5, Monday through Friday, schedule. People work all through the day and night and on weekends. Asynchronous learning allows them to schedule their classes at a time that is convenient and most learning-efficient for them.

They Do Not Rely on Expensive Technology – Many synchronous meetings utilize bandwidth-intensive graphics and videos. For those students without the necessary “high-end” equipment, these seminars may be all but useless. Asynchronous ones, on the other hand, allow a slow connection to buffer the signal and transmit the entire seminar.

For more information on the benefits of asynchronous learning and other, creative teaching techniques, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning, today.

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Teaching with Technology: What the Students Want

Teaching with Technology: What the Students Want

With the advent of the Internet, the demands made on the modern educational infrastructure have become ever more severe. Thanks to the fast paced world around us and opportunities available, students require a greater flexibility in their courses, their schedules and their technology.

Teaching with Technology: What the Students Want
Outside of the computer lab, here are a few ways students expect to see technology in the class.

Here is what students are looking for in particular:

Mobile, Integrated, Cutting Edge Interfaces – This means that students want access to the class, no matter the time or their location. Wherever they have an internet connection, students appreciate being able to access discussion boards, reporting, online tools and a classroom response system. These are the bare minimum, and the technology can support far more.

Less Disruptive, Disinterested Students – While technology brings many great benefits, it also allows the less disciplined to engage in counterproductive activities during classroom time. Real students are looking for valid ways to avoid distractions and concentrate on their studies.

Off-Site Access – Modern students, especially those that are connected online, want and need the versatility that our present technology affords. And, most importantly, they want it where and when they want it.

We live in the age of technology, and our students are veterans. They’ve grown up with and have seen more technological advances and breakthroughs than anyone. So, make sure your lesson plan and teaching style fit their expectations and needs by using these helpful tips.

For more about these and other teaching tips, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

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Lecture Hall

Tips New Professors Can Use in the Lecture Hall

Lecture Hall
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Are you new to teaching college courses and lectures? Teaching at the college level can be very rewarding and more than a little daunting. Here are some tips for new professors when standing up in front of a lecture room full of students for the first time.

1. It’s OK to be nervous- Standing in front a room of people is always a bit nerve racking, but above all else you must exude confidence! Students need to know that you are an expert in your field, especially during the beginning of a semester.

2. Innovate- Sitting for two hours and listening to a lecture can be less than entertaining.  More and more professors are implementing multimedia into lectures. Video, for example, will continue to play an important role in education.

3. Don’t over-prepare– Spending to much time preparing for a lesson may overwhelm you when the school year rolls around. Prepare your course outline and learning expectations early, develop an assessment standard, and take it one step at a time.

4. Be honest- If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t fuddle an answer. Instead, just say, “Let me get back to you.” You don’t want to lose credibility by giving a false answer.

Above all else make the lecture fun! Get creative in your lesson plans and make use of all resources available to you.

To find more tips for new professors and other resources, contact us at Labyrinth Learning to see how we can help you prepare for the school year.

Student on Laptop

Improving the Quality of Higher Education Through Digital Means

Student on Laptop The future has come to colleges all across the world in the form of digital technology. Nowadays, both students and professors are seeing how this new medium is improving the quality of higher education in real time.

  • Going digital has given educators the ability to determine and rate program efficiency through analysis of collected data. Student performance can be tracked, and the curriculum can be finely tuned, depending on what information these data cuts reveal.
  • While professors are often reluctant to begin an online teaching program because they feel it is not an effective time management experience, investing in the necessary hours at the beginning reduces time commitments in the future.
  • Online classrooms have the ability to assist in improving the quality of higher education in a larger group of students. For example, ESL students, who perhaps are having difficulty composing complex grammatically correct sentences, can begin the semester with a specialized interactive tool allowing them to learn at their own pace. This digital technology also gives the instructor the capacity to track each student’s individual progress.
  • With digital learning platforms, the potential is there to establish a more personalized interactive relationship. Everything from feedback about test scores to questions that a student needs answered can be responded to in real time.

Please connect with us today online or call 800-522-9746 for more information on the tools and assistance we offer at Labyrinth Learning. Our products can improve the quality of higher education in your classroom.

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College Student

How One University Quadrupled Female Enrollment in Computer Science

College Student
Source: freedigitalphotos

Despite the numerous successes of the Feminist Movement, female participation in tech-oriented programs remain low. However, evidence shows that this is not an insurmountable problem for colleges. Better still, there is reason to believe that the solution to increase female enrollment in computer science can be replicated.

Here are the three methods that Harvey Mudd College used to increase female enrollment in computer science:

  • First, Harvey Mudd College changed their course from “Introduction to Programming in Java” to “Creative Approaches to Problem Solving in Science and Engineering Using Python.” The change of name made the course less intimidating to interested individuals, while Python replaced Java because it is a more forgiving language. At the same time, the professors separated the class based on coding experience to improve its atmosphere.
  • Second, the college encouraged women to sign up for the course by showing them that women can be successful in tech-oriented industries. This was accomplished by bringing the students to the Grace Hopper Conference, which is meant to celebrate women in said industries.
  • Third, students were encouraged to use their skills to make something that mattered. Examples ranged from educational games to the conversion of popular software for use by new user bases. Their successes showed them that the tech-oriented industries were not out of their reach, with the result that large numbers of women switched over to computer science.

For materials that can be used in computer science courses, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning to speak about our products.

Video Will Continue to Play a Bigger Role in the Classroom

Video Will Continue to Play a Bigger Role in the Classroom

Video Will Continue to Play a Bigger Role in the ClassroomVideo learning in the classroom has come a long way from simply playing a movie to students. With multimedia opportunities constantly expanding, developing, and improving, instructors now are able to incorporate video technology into lectures in many new and interesting ways that better inspire learning.

These are some reasons why video use is increasing in the classroom:

  • People prefer video. In 2012, video accounted for 40 percent of all Internet traffic, but this number is expected to rise to 62 percent by 2016. Video allows students to collaborate in the learning process, it meets the needs of different learning styles, and it makes greatest use of school resources.
  • Video helps students learn a wider variety of skills. Rather just improving test scores, educators want students to learn problem solving, communication, and collaboration — all skills in which video learning can assist.
  • Students who learn with video perform better. Various studies have found that students with access to on-demand video have better grades and exam results. The vast majority of university students surveyed said videos helped them learn course material.
  • Video provides a bridge between school and the real world. Through video training, students learn skills useful for the workplace, including sociability, civic responsibility, and media literacy.

For more ideas about how to use video learning in the classroom at your community college, contact us at Labyrinth Learning for educational resources.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons