Technology should be used to supplement education

As digitalization gains momentum, it is important for universities to embrace technology as a supplement to classroom teaching.

Rather than fear technology for its supposed distraction, universities can maintain strong classroom environments that are made stronger by supplementary technologies such as Classroom Capture.

For the past year, USF has been conducting a pilot phase for Classroom Capture, a feature that will change the way college classes take place. During the pilot phase, 11 faculty members at the university participated by making audio or audio-video content available to students online.

With the increasing emphasis and reliance on technology, it is important for different fields, including education, to mold these features into applicable uses. The lecture capture feature that has sprung up nationwide is an excellent example of an application that will be of benefit to everyone.

Because the captures were made available via Blackboard on iTunes U, they were easily accessible to those who needed them.

Students were able to look back and listen to lectures that they did not fully understand. Slower note-takers could revisit the lecture and follow along at their own pace. Students who needed to miss a lecture day for professional or health reasons had a way of keeping up with the content presented in the classroom.

Of course, the obvious question is whether such availabilities will replace live, in-class experiences.

It could be argued that because students will have access to lectures from their homes, there will no longer be a need to attend class.

Yet, such instances can be avoided if the technological features are utilized in a supplementary manner, and instructors offer incentives for in-class attendance, through participation grades or pop quizzes.

USF is not the only university using similar feature.

The favorable results are reflected nationwide. A survey conducted by Tegrity, found that 80 percent of the almost 300 professors using Tegrity Campus for captures, said they would continue to use the service in the future. In an October 2011 survey at the West Virginia University medical school, 93 percent of the students surveyed said they had earned better grades because of lecture capture.

While technology by itself will not significantly alter the way students pay attention in class, it will be another resource students and instructors can use to make education more easily accessible.

The changes in technology are clear, and the impact it has had is great. It is within the power of universities to determine the extent of that impact.

Implementation of the technologic features presents a nearly effortless yet highly rewarding chance for both students and instructors to merge the real world and education in a beneficial, applicable manner.