How to choose the best active learning technology for your spaces


When it comes to choosing technology to support learning on campus, the stakes are high.

And they just keep getting higher. Technology has become an integral part of students’ lives. And while some may think this just means Instagram selfies and video game tournaments, a recent EDUCAUSE survey found that reading course materials, completing homework and doing research was actually more common. For many higher education institutions, the question around technology policy has changed: from “How much tech do we really need?” to “How do we choose the tools that will really make a difference for our students?”

Active learning spaces are at the forefront of this shift. Though low-tech versions of these spaces exist (think dry-erase markers, flip charts and a whole lot of sticky notes), more often colleges and universities are looking to technology to support crucial skills development. Once you’ve taken care of the essentials – trusty Wi-Fi, smooth LMS integration, clear audio – active learning technology can go further to strengthen collaboration, problem solving and engagement.

But how to choose what’s right for your technology-enhanced active learning spaces? It’s helpful to consider two things – the tool and who’s behind it.

Benefits, not bells and whistles

Choosing active learning technology starts with establishing clear criteria. What are your goals for your spaces? What must-haves do you expect from all your tech, like security and scalability? How will technology fit in with the other elements of your active learning space design?

Once you know the basics of what you’re looking for, here are a few questions to ask that can help narrow your options further:

Does the technology make group work smoother?
Complaints about group work are familiar to anyone who’s taught a postsecondary class (I heard my fair share) – it’s clear that collaborating can be tricky. Technology should help, not add extra levels of complication. Look for flexible solutions that you can adapt to the specific needs of faculty and students.

Is it designed for synchronous and asynchronous work? 
Tools that allow students to work together in person should work just as well when those students are not in the same room. Students today expect immediate access to their learning tools, so choose ones that make it easy for students to make progress on their shared work, anywhere and anytime.

Can you access it from any device, anywhere?
It’s amazing what a savvy student can do with a smartphone – create presentations, do readings, even write papers! Make sure the technology tools you choose let them use the devices they prefer – and keep in mind that for some, a smartphone is the most accessible option.

Is it designed for student-led learning?
Active learning technology should put students in the driver’s seat. Look for solutions that let multiple students interact at the same time. For example, Nureva’s visual collaboration tools have 40-point multitouch and full access from devices, so students can take the lead.

This article is a Nureva blog post and you can read the full article here :

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