As the ground continues to shift underneath the foundation of higher education, largely around funding, mission, prestige, and enrollment, institutions are challenged to respond in several different ways.
Based on our work with benchmarking classroom technology and developing technology master plans for colleges and universities, we have identified these 5 factors as the key factors that are driving the classroom technology revolution in higher education:
- Shifting Demographics and Competencies
- Looming Technological Changes on the Horizon and Increasing Pace of Innovation
- Rationalizing Classroom Utilization
- Incorporating Resiliency and Flexibility into Classroom Design
- Collaborating Across Silos and Departments
1. Shifting Demographics and Competencies
College students are now entering higher education as digital-natives and the next generation of faculty will increasingly be digital natives. Student demographics are shifting as the importance of lifelong learning increases as some jobs are replaced by technology while new jobs are created in the transformation:
- Tomorrow’s college and university students are already in primary education programs that incorporate more competency-based and active learning pedagogies in the curriculum.
- Faculty are doing more data-intensive research, and will expect to work and teach with tools for acquiring, analyzing, and visualizing data in ways that will become more essential to academia.
2. Looming Technological Changes on the Horizon and Increasing Pace of Innovation
More audio-visual technologies are connecting directly to the data network and control equipment is being virtualized into mobile applications. As a result, classroom learning and collaboration
technologies will undergo rapid technology shifts in the next 5 years. The lifecycle and funding models for these technologies are being disrupted as technology evolves faster than the lifecycle
of deployed equipment and funding shifts from an equipment purchase to an annual software subscription for virtualized equipment.
3. Rationalizing Classroom Utilization
The majority of university classrooms were originally built more than 10 years ago and were designed for a different era. Instead of building more classroom buildings, colleges and universities may be better off balancing their existing resources, including funding, more efficiently and transparently.
It is increasingly important to have facilities that can be flexibly used for multiple purposes and use standardized technologies to contribute to efficient resource use. By increasing the utilization of the right kind of classrooms with better scheduling, the number and size of classroom spaces may be reduced.
4. Incorporating Resiliency and Flexibility into Classroom Design
Colleges and universities that adopt internal processes to prepare the institution will be able to respond better to disruptive advances in technology and the underlying shifts in information exchange that cause them. Building resiliency and flexibility into the process and avoiding getting locked into a specific technology or course of action is a critical need.
5. Collaborating Across Silos and Departments
Innovation is not just something that can be built. Universities must work across silos and departments, and vertically from the front lines up to the office of the president or dean to tackle increasingly integrated and complex issues around learning technology in the 21st Century.