Can you think of any aspect of our life that hasn’t been transformed by technology? Let’s talk about the way we learn. New technologies transformed the educational materials delivered to students. Professors use technology to analyze a learner’s performance in a fairer way, too. The blended learning concept is also important to mention. Instead of listening to lectures at school and writing one essay after another at home, the student is motivated to learn and conduct research at home and ask questions at school.
But what about higher education? Did colleges and universities move away from the “lecturing” concept? We still have large lecture halls and professors who speak for hours. But things are changing. Let’s look at the most important IT trends that change the perspectives of higher education in 2021.
Top 6 Technology Trends in Higher Education for 2021
1. Improved Security
Universities collect a great deal of data from students. They have a responsibility to ensure data protection, privacy, and utmost security. That’s why they invest in cybersecurity systems, which protect these bases from unlawful attacks.
In addition, universities make important investments in visitor management systems. Students, staff, and visitors sign in at entry points with unique ID cards. The use of facial recognition software is becoming more common, too. Through these systems, campus security issues are being managed in a more effective way.
2. Better Access to Research Material
Before the digital era, students used to do their research in libraries. They chose a topic and went through plenty of books to find decent materials as a foundation of their projects. That didn’t always end up well. Most libraries weren’t updated with recent studies. Without a proper research system, the student couldn’t find all the relevant information they needed.
Thanks to technology, everything is different. The student only needs to access research studies, which they can easily find through Google Scholar. They can also rely on research paper writing services. The popular research paper service EduBirdie connects students with trained experts in different areas of study. Through this online system, the student can get online training in writing, research, and editing. It’s important to mention that college libraries are digitized as well. It’s easy for a learner to find tons of materials to support their arguments.
3. AI Apps Are Getting Big
Artificial intelligence can predict a student’s performance in upcoming courses based on their previous achievements. Students at Penn State University already use such apps, which collect data about their performance and warn them when they need to pay attention to a particular course.
Most universities also use chatbots. Instead of going through offices to find the answers they need, the students can ask questions and get instant answers on their school’s official website.
4. Schools Leverage Big Data
It’s possible for universities to predict areas where students are struggling, and offer assistance before they fail a course or ruin a semester. Researchers from Dartmouth University were the first ones to create an app that predicts a student’s GPA. It collects data from their studies, but from face-to-face interactions, exercise, and sleep as well.
In 2021, big data is mostly used to inform recruiters about the most successful students. It also plays a role in adapting and personalizing course content in accordance with a student’s performance.
5. Collaborative Learning Apps
Collaborative learning is not a new concept. We’ve always seen it as a learning method that’s successful because students motivate each other to perform better. Today, universities launch their own collaborative apps, or recommend programs that are already available.
Group messaging apps, interactive whiteboards, and similar applications help students to collaborate from a distance.
6. Virtual Reality Is Gaining Attention
This is a real game-changer. VR sets lead to a contextualized and exploratory study approach, which increases a student’s engagement. It’s as close as we can get to practical experience without leaving the classroom.
VR technology is mostly used in gaming, healthcare and medical, and marketing studies.
Where Will the Future Take Us?
2020 taught us a valuable lesson: technology makes learning possible even when the schools are closed. It led to a rapid development of learning and collaboration apps. It pushed universities to introduce new teaching methods and invest a larger budget in IT improvements.
The changes we’re witnessing in higher education will have tangible benefits in the nearest future. Emerging technologies simplify the learning process and improve students’ security.