Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Technologies Changing College Education with Ajax Tutorial

Three new technologies are going mainstream on college campuses that will influence the way college courses are taught and students learn within the next two years.

These changes are influenced by adult students who expect to be able to use modern technology tools to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want. They demand these changes because they live in an increasingly busy world where they must balance demands from home, work, and school. Current trends in new technologies are affecting the practice of teaching, learning, and collaboration in college courses. This is primarily due to the impact of the Internet, which allows adult students to access their college courses and materials from anywhere.

Students only need a web browser and no longer need to purchase productivity software and data packages that are stored on servers around the Internet.

Mobile Computing: Portable Internet Capable Devices Internet capable portable devices are widespread and adult students are already using them for personal mobile computing. These portable devices include Smart phones, netbooks, laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, and more. Mobile devices provide increasing opportunity for collaboration and communication with instructors and other students.

Examples include: Twitter - students gather meteorological data around campus to collect, analyze, and disseminate their findings. iPhone and iPod – students use these portable devices to view podcasts of laboratory preparation and safety lectures. Tablet PCs – students use tablet PCs to record and analyze field research, present their findings, and compare results in real time. Mobile Application – some college libraries are providing a mobile application for catalog search, information about computer availability in labs, and access to a reference librarian.

Open Content: Free Access to College Courses There is already a large variety of open content or open courseware courses available through distance learning. These free college courses are providing a remedy for decreasing the high cost of a college education. Open content is available in many parts of the world and represents a profound movement in the way adult students study and learn. Open content is more than a collection of free online course materials; it provides access to learning in areas where access is difficult and empowerment for students to choose when and how to learn. Many sources of open content are completed through distance learning and by using social networking services such as Diigo and Twine.

Examples include: Massachusetts Institute of Technology – publishes lectures and materials from most of its undergraduate and graduate courses online, they are free and available for self-study. Carnegie Mellon University – their Open Learning Initiative offers instructor-led and self-paced courses. Mesa Community College – offers to the open courseware material and lectures on YouTube. Open University – offers OpenLearn, which is free access to some of their course materials. Their program’s units take three to fifteen hours to complete and offer support from an online learning community.

Electronic Textbooks: Cost Effective and Portable Due to ever increasing cost of college textbooks, electronic textbooks are beginning to go mainstream on many campuses. There are expected to become readily available within two years. Examples of electronic textbook readers include Kindle, Kindle DX, iPad, Sony Reader, and Noble Nook. Adult students can also use their iPhones, iPod, Smartphones, and other portable devices to down load electronic books. Copy-right free electronic textbooks, including works of literature, are available at little or no cost. Textbook publishers are releasing more titles, leading to a wider selection of current books and new releases. This is where the Internet has made purchasing and downloading a relatively simple matter. Adult students can use their portable electronic devices to download electronic text books from virtually any location, at no additional cost, and with no subscription or access fee.

Examples include: The University of Alabama – provides Kindles for students to check out and each reader provides a selection of reference books, literature, and more. The Penn State University – provides Sony Readers that students can check out from libraries for classroom use, along with both fiction and non-fiction titles. The University of Texas at Austin – uses online interactive electronic textbooks with a print-on-demand component, available in color or black-and white in French classes. The online portion includes audio clips of each part of the text and video clips to explore the culture. The significance of these technologies is that adult and non-traditional students are able to build personal learning networks using these resources. Mobile computing devices, electronic textbooks, and open content or open courseware is changing the way adult students learn in the 21st century. Educational institutions are historically mired in resistance to change; however, they are being forced to change, because non-traditional students are increasing in number. These students want to learn and demand the use of new technologies to meet their life commitments.

Computers blog