Three Technologies Schools Should Invest in This Year

As the workplace becomes increasingly digital, college students need more exposure to technology in the classroom. Here’s what university CTOs can do to help:

As new technologies continue to change the way we live our lives, they also change how we do our jobs. Experts predict that by 2020, 86 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees will have adopted Internet of Things (IoT) devices into daily workflows, 65 percent will be deploying edge computing, 64 percent will utilize artificial intelligence (AI), and nearly 56 percent will leverage some form of blockchain technology.

Unfortunately, both K-12 and higher education institutions are moving at a much slower pace when it comes to adopting digital devices and applications into curricula. Given that the workforce is becoming increasingly tech-centric, current college students might be at risk of graduating unprepared for the digital workforce of tomorrow.

Despite the increased pressure to develop better lesson plans around technology, many schools and educators have expressed hesitancy around bringing new devices into the classroom. This is often due to a lack of strategic planning, access to resources, or in some cases, a lack of strong enough WiFi networks to support an influx of new technologies. But regardless of these hurdles, it’s clear what the current generation of students want — 82 percent have expressed an interest in using new devices in their daily lessons.

If schools are to meet student demands and effectively prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow, university CTOs must stay up to date with the latest technologies being used in the real world. There’s no better time to start than now — to get you off to a good start for the school year, here are three technologies universities should consider adopting.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Applications

Although most augmented and virtual reality applications are built for everyday use, some educators have found innovative ways to bring them into classrooms in an attempt to change the way we approach lesson planning.

There are already a few successful examples of virtual reality — the digital simulation of a three-dimensional environment — being introduced in university settings, particularly in medical schools. One app paving the way is Anatomage Table, a 3D anatomy visualization system for physiology education. Anatomage Table creates virtual cadavers that offer medical students a safe environment to develop important surgical skills. As of this fall, it has already been adopted by Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Heidelberg Medical School.

Augmented reality applications, which superimpose digital elements over a live view, are also beginning to make an impact in college classrooms. For example, Deakin University and Eon Reality created the cARdiac ECG app, which leverages AR technology to provide medical and nursing students a practical way to learn about the human heart. With cARdiac, students can engage with interactive cardiac models that overlay conduction systems, blood flow, and ECG traces.

Artificial Intelligence Tutoring

Tutoring has been a longstanding element of the educational experience, but personalized tutoring with the help of smart technologies has yet to be fully adopted in schools. This is now changing with the rise of artificial intelligence tutoring.

Early adoption of AI tutoring has thus far been relatively successful. For example, The U.S. Navy has developed an AI tutoring system called Education Dominance for IT schools. The program is designed to monitor student progress and provide personalized assessments, much like a human tutor might do. The Navy reported that students who worked with the digital tutor made significant strides in their educational development.

Adaptive Learning Programs for Individual Learning

In a recent ELI report about academic transformation, a university technology executive argued that higher education should offer more technology-driven opportunities to fulfill the digital demands of today. Moreover, the report advocated for students to have more autonomy over the decision to pursue a traditional, digitally-driven, adaptive, or competency-based learning program.

One of the ways higher education institutions have been able to meet these goals is with adaptive learning, an emerging learning program that combines student data with AI to create more individualized classroom experiences. Many academic officers believe this is key to developing a more individualized student learning experience in higher education climates, but its biggest roadblock at the moment is a lack of IT support to implement the requisite tools.

Higher Education Needs IT Support 

Education and workplace landscapes are changing, which means that universities and colleges need to make more investments in emerging technologies to keep up. But the integration of technology into school environments requires IT leaders to revisit their infrastructure models and adapt into new roles. If universities are to reap the benefits of new technologies, school CTOs must be able to develop complex strategies for their IT planning and, more importantly, have a reliable IT partner. That’s where Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) can help.

With nearly three decades of experience building networks capable of supporting your college campus, we can help your university develop the requisite IT infrastructure for success. With our a la carte menu of networking solutions, our award-winning experts can help university CTOs update their campuses to WiFi 6, prepare students to bridge the skills gap upon graduation, and adopt new emerging technologies.

By Tony Ridzyowski

September 20, 2019

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