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Technology for Learning Spaces
High Performance Collaboration

Higher Education

Full-Participation Active Learning Spaces

The learning experience is no longer restricted to formal teaching rooms and the library.  Wifi and high-speed mobile data enables technology to provide students with ubiquitous access to information and media-rich learning platforms in almost every place and at any time.  There is no longer the need to restrict students to a forward-facing front-of-class experience that was delivered for the most part as didactic transfer of knowledge by the only person in the room with access to limited technology; mostly PowerPoint and such slide presentations. If students aren’t encouraged to use their technology in constructive ways that research problems or search for the answers to their curiosities, then they will be used in time-wasting ways that hold back their learning potential. More thought is needed into how students can be more fully engaged in learning activities that deepen their true knowledge and understanding, providing them with the skills to apply knowledge to new situations, not just to be agile at regurgitating facts and answering exam questions. Technology and the wireless connectivity to it must be the catalyst for replacing outdated and lifeless transfer of information from one to many; in many scenarios students can access such information without paying fees to attend class. Leadership and Governance  Simply installing new technology into new or refurbished spaces will not in themselves deliver the intended outcomes.   A range of leadership and governance strategies are required in order to seek a return from the investment these new methodologies require.  A return that sees higher student achievement and real employability skills in the short term and a desire for life-long learning beyond that.   And the benefits are not just for students; academics are the custodians of deeper learning that makes their role more enjoyable, and forward-thinking universities will attract students that want to be challenged and supported by staff in environments that they find stimulating. 
Photo Courtesy of Marketing and Creative Services Queen’s University Belfast.
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Photo Courtesy of the University of the West of Scotland.