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Technology Advancements in the Education Sector - How Connected are Students?
In a world where human beings can use a watch to board a flight and a car to charge their phone, technology has become a prominent part in all walks of life, not least the life of a university student. With constant advancements in the technology industry, Universities are finding more clever and innovative methods of using IT to maximize the student experience. We spoke to a student at the University of Bath – ranked the best European University under 50 years and UK’s number one University in ‘The Student Experience survey’, and here is all the tech they use in their day to day life.
As a student, you lose track of all the technology you use in one day at university. First, there is all the software and hardware that students simply cannot live without. I guarantee that 90% of all students you speak to have a smartphone and laptop/tablet – in fact a fair chunk of them probably have all three! If a student doesn’t send a snapchat of themselves in their 8 am seminar, did they really attend?
Every campus is armed with Wi-Fi, computers, printers, projectors, all of which can be found in various libraries, study rooms and lecture theaters. Today’s lecture theaters are designed with large screens connected to large cameras, microphones and electronic clickers to transmit results wirelessly to a receiver. As well as these clickers, lecturers are now using apps such as SlideDog and Twiddle, allowing live-sharing of presentations, where students can answer polls or give feedback during the lecture, making it a more interactive experience. Lecturers are designing their course material around the advanced technology at their disposal.
Technology has allowed for universities to make the sharing of information between staff and students as easy as ever with several online portals. English universities use various Open Source Learning Management Systems (LMS). Bath for example uses Moodle – a popular and flexible virtual learning environment allowing for staff to post lecture material and problem sheets online for students to access, as well as the entire recording of the lectures (as if students need any more excuses to stay in bed all day). Students are able to track emails, see exam timetables, sign up to events, collect exam results and submit their assignments, all at the click of a button.
With social media seemingly taking over the Internet, universities are certainly taking advantage. You will be surprised to come across a university that doesn’t have a Facebook and Twitter page. Social media and Student Union websites are the places to go to check out all the latest events, both social and work related – and buy tickets as you see fit. All the student faculty voting is done online, and if like me you enjoy a Lamb Tikka Jaljrezi with a Cobra on the side, this is the place to join the curry Appreciation Society, or whichever society you may take an interest in.
Card Technology Services have made the life of a student even easier. Students need to simply scan a card to enter the library, use the local bus service, buy lunch, check in to labs and even do laundry (yes, we do occasionally do our laundry). Without having your parents by your side to rely on, having to manage your finances starts to become an issue. However, with online banking you can manage your student loans and pay all your bills with the click of a button.
Now we all know the life of a student isn’t all about lectures and assignments, and if we’re not out at the bars, we rely heavily on technology in our free time. Netflix, Football Manager, Sky go, Xbox Live, Fantasy Football, online shopping and perhaps the most important piece of ammunition a student has at their disposal, their Nandos card. There is no better feeling than when you collect that 10th Chilli and the free whole chicken is yours!
So there we have it. It's safe to say students have it a lot easier now than we all did back in the day! Gone are the days of storming up to campus in fear of missing the 9 am hand-in. It’s clear that whether you’re studying on campus, relaxing at home or staying in halls, technology is absolutely everywhere and students are connected for practically the entire duration of their degree.
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