Mainstream colleges and universities could benefit from increased use of assistive technologies for learning, but there are some educators who feel that allowing students to use assistive technology is like cheating.
As someone who works at a college where these learning tools are used every day in every class, I’d like to clear up this major misconception. These tools simply facilitate learning, and all of us, different and “normal” learners alike, should understand what the tools can do for us.
The word “class” really doesn’t do justice to what medical students attend in the newly renovated lecture theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.
“It’s a production, which is so much better,” said Ed Hipditch, manager of classroom technologies with Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) department. “Students walk in and say ‘Wow!’ The wow factor is important when educating someone. It’s not just someone scribbling on a chalkboard.”
Students love lecture capture. Also enamored are administrators and faculty with active systems. Surveys and data collected from various institutions have shown it improves engagement and student outcomes. Just one example: Of first year medical students involved in the Mediasite pilot program at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, 88 percent agreed the system helped them achieve their educational goals.
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when trying to convey complex ideas. At Purdue University (Ind.), a home-grown smartphone app lets students easily incorporate mobile video components into class assignments and share them with teachers and other students.
Called DoubleTake, the app was developed by the university's information technology staff and is available through the iTunes App store. An Android-based version is in the works as well.
As new technologies are developed, many tried-and-true staples of academia have fallen. So it is with the carousel slide projector.
Long a staple of art history classes, slide projectors are becoming obsolete, and while many professors and instructors have plenty of media, they don't have a way to replace the projector itself.
For the University of Denver's multimedia department this presented an opportunity not only to solve an immediate problem but to create something that would go beyond the traditional uses of media objects.