How Technology is Transforming Education in Colleges and Universities

With the workplace (and the world as a whole) becoming increasingly digital, Higher Education institutions are taking steps to prepare students for their futures by embracing new technology within their environments. The new generation of ‘digital natives’, whether it be via their smartphone, tablet or laptop, are used to having instant access to a wealth of information and resources at their fingertips – so why should their college or university experience be any different?

Recent statistics from the cohort in question go even further in verifying that the time to act is now. According to the Higher Education advice organisation JISC,

“While 81.5% of university students feel that digital skills will be important in their chosen career, only half believe that their courses prepare them well for the digital workplace.”

Utilising technology as an integral part of the student experience doesn’t have to end at the classroom, however. Increasing numbers of colleges and universities have started to implement digital signage boards throughout campus to relay important information to students, as well as Wi-Fi-enabled printer services and huddle spaces to help facilitate group projects and meetings.

Due to this shift in technology for education that is rapidly gaining traction within the sector, Midwich have invested in and created an interactive Education Portal to be used by resellers as a new sales tool. Please feel free to share the Portal with your customers and explore the capabilities of technology in education; meanwhile, read ahead as we discuss in more detail exactly how technology is revolutionising the Higher Education market.

Making the most out of open spaces

Huddle spaces in lobby areas

The main lobby or hub area of any Higher Education establishment is bound to be a hive of activity, with a consistent footfall throughout the day, so why not make the most of it?

One technology which is well suited to this area is the huddle space. Inspired by a rise in popularity within the corporate sector, Higher Education institutions have begun to introduce this feature as a way of providing flexible meeting spaces for both students and staff, acting as an ad-hoc rendezvous point for sharing ideas and networking.

Our education team have seen a sharp rise in the amount of interest in huddle space solutions for use in colleges and universities. Our Sales Manager for Education, Tracey, explains that this new branch of meeting spaces is;

“great for peer groups to collaborate in a space outside the classroom.” She also notes that “there’s been increasing demand for interactive solutions bringing ideas alive”, as huddle spaces can offer an increased level of engagement over the traditional chair-led meeting. 

Another benefit of huddle spaces is that it only takes minimal equipment to achieve the equivalent of a fully-formed meeting room, generally seating up to six people around an interactive screen and simple conferencing solution with camera and audio capability. For educators wishing to make the rooms reservable, a room booking panel is also a welcome addition.

Head to the portal to view our recommended huddle space setup, as well as a range of other technologies recommended for use in lobby areas such as digital signage (perfect for internally managed communication of events, news, weather, and other information).

Transforming Higher Education - Lobby

 

Capture every moment

Lecture capture in lecture halls

The lecture hall is at the very heart of any college or university experience, yet it’s surprising how a few technological additions can transform the potential of these spaces, creating a more engaging and valuable experience for students.

One important piece of technology that appears in our Education Portal relates to lecture capture, a way of recording teaching sessions and publishing them online for students to view at a later date. Although it has been argued that this could result in reduced lecture attendance, this has not been evidenced. In fact, increasing numbers of institutions have begun to implement this for the benefit of non-native or dyslexic students, or really any student who may want to re-watch lectures in their own time for revision or notetaking purposes.

According to our technical specialist, Jonathan Morris, the Vaddio RoboTRAK system (our lecture capture solution featured in the portal):

“…is a camera that automatically follows the lecturer around the room. Based on an infrared tracking algorithm, a lecturer simply wears a lanyard and the RoboTRAK follows them. Paired with any RoboSHOT camera, the RoboTRAK sends its pan/tilt info to create quality recording – all without a camera operator!”

Find out more about our recommended lecture hall technologies in the portal, including microphone setups, projectors and more.

Transforming Higher Education - Lecture Theatre

 

Digital libraries don’t have to be paperless

Print and scan in library areas

The concept of a library is shifting. Leaning more towards the digital realm of shared online resources, huddle spaces, and banks of computer desks, we’ve seen increased opportunity to streamline operations by integrating new technologies into library areas. Our Education Portal picks out several points of opportunity here and provides various proposals for digitalisation.

However, there is also still a strong case to be made for the necessity of paper in an education setting. Recent research has suggested that “we tend to read faster on screen and consequently understand less compared to when reading from paper”; “the reader often experiences better concentration and a greater overview when reading from a printed medium compared to a screen”.

As such, we’ve picked out some printer and scanner options that are perfect for higher education settings including; fast, compact mono laser multifunction printers (ideal for printing notes and presentation slides) and A3 flatbed scanners (ideal for scanning large text books).

Our Scan expert Emma Filmer has outlined just a few ways that scanning is important to the education sector:

  • Capturing visa and passport details of foreign exchange students for legal requirements
  • Enabling swift processing of student applications
  • Improve back office administration such as digitising university correspondence, scanning classwork for students etc.

Investing in Document Solutions not only benefits students and academic staff, it can also function as a secondary source of income for your own business. We asked our Managed Print Services manager Richard Wells to outline our in-house service, XPS:

“Managed Print (MPS) is a really important area for education as print has become one of the ‘uncontrollable expenses’ for many. MPS brings control of these costs and reduces impact on internal resources in managing a printer and copier fleet, and use of print management software such as Papercut allows an organisation to set rules over use and reduce/eliminate waste and unnecessary printing. MPS is supplied through our Expert Print Services (XPS) team who have a wealth of experience to assist you and your customers through the transition from an ad-hoc print situation to a Managed Print Service aligned to a print policy.”

Head to the portal to view our recommended printers and scanners, as well as a range of other technologies recommended for use in library areas.

Transforming Higher Education - Library

 

Hands-on student engagement

Interactive displays in seminar rooms

With the wealth of information available online these days, plus the increased popularity of self-taught college and university courses, tutors are having to work harder to engage their students in the classroom, one such way being through increased student interaction in seminars. Our Education Sales Manager Tracey Andrews’ assertion of a spike in interest in “interactive solutions [that bring] ideas alive” largely refers to the use of interactive displays or “whiteboards”. This growing trend has certainly shown its worth in projected market value statistics, with the interactive display market set to grow to a value of around £20.61 ($26.91) billion by 2022‎.

With models from the likes of iiyama offering a range of features including up to 20 points of touch, multi-colour pen and eraser functions all in 4K resolution, tutors can deliver lessons that can engage and involve the whole class. As aforementioned, students are used to interacting with touch screens in their daily life, so this technology can allow for comfortable expression of ideas in a group setting and improved communication and retention as a result.

Check out the portal to view our example of an interactive screen perfect for seminar rooms as well as a range of other technologies recommended for use in these areas.

Transforming Higher Education - Seminar Room

 

We hope this overview has given you a peek into the opportunity for technology in Higher Education settings, perhaps even in areas you wouldn’t expect!

Now it’s your chance to explore the full Higher Education Portal for yourself and experience everything that it has to offer. Have a browse through the products in each of the four locations and discover how even the smallest pieces of technology can benefit the day to day running of a university or college environment for both tutors and students. 

Transforming Higher Education - Portal Homepage