Jun 01 2016

3 Tools to Enhance Hands-On Learning in Higher Ed

Here's a quick peek at three of the technologies that are enhancing learning in higher education.

Colleges and universities are in a state of change: Ever-advancing digital technologies have transformed teaching models and student experiences on campuses across the country.

The fast pace of technological innovation will continue to fuel the need for speed in campus modernizations. Already, a handful of new technologies are ready to hit the mainstream.

Glenda Morgan, research director for higher education at Gartner, explains three of the most exciting technologies on the horizon:

1. Virtual reality

“VR is on the cusp of becoming quite powerful in education,” Morgan says.

The promise is for learning to become more personalized and hands-on when students don digital goggles and see superimposed instructions for laying out a circuit board or taking apart an engine. Solutions already on the market include Samsung’s Gear VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens and the Oculus VR from Facebook.

2. The Internet of Things

Some companies offer distributed sensors allowing colleges to measure student engagement on the campus, among other initiatives.

“If the sensors and associated algorithms determine that a student hasn’t been on campus for a while, officials can decide whether to reach out to see what the problem is and perhaps keep the student from dropping out,” Morgan says.

3. 3D Printing

Quickly moving from emerging to mainstream, “3D printers are less expensive than ever,” Morgan says.

MakerBot’s Replicator Z18, which handles large industrial prototypes and products, can print multiple items simultaneously to speed the design process.

As VR, the Internet of Things and 3D printing become more common in higher ed, IT leaders will need to make sure their campuses are ready. Read more about the infrastructure upgrades that support campus modernizations.


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