In some classroom situations your lecturer might decide to use interactive tools that require you (the student) to have access to a connected device (phone, tablet or laptop). When lecturers do this, the work traditionally reserved for in-class teaching can be done outside of lesson time. For example, you could be asked to watch and investigate the subject of a lesson before even entering the classroom – then in class you are in a position to contribute and shape discussion. This approach is not about a lecturer talking at you for two hours – it’s about you being an active part of the process. This might require a shift in your working practice. This can be daunting at first – but don’t let it worry you!
Some people assume that if anyone starts university today having grown up in the 21st century then they must be an expert in all areas of technology. This assumption is, of course, false. While you may be technically proficient with a range of electronic devices, the question for you is: “Have I used my devices for more than just social media or games? Have I used them to develop my higher level thinking skills, or for more in-depth researching techniques than Google and Wikipedia can provide?”
The answer might be “possibly not” – but if it is, don’t worry: you need to learn to ask for help in areas where you are unsure or uncertain of how to proceed. Even seemingly ‘simple’ problems regarding Word, Excel or similar software might pose challenges. To this day I am a limited Excel user; although I’m definitely not a technophobe, my capabilities with the software are not what many would expect. However, now that the University has a full campus licence for Lynda.com I am able to develop my skills at a time of my choosing. Asking for help should not be seen as a problem or as an admission of failure: it’s a means of making your life easier for the next three years (and indeed for life after university). The finest minds are always asking questions and attempting to learn more to better themselves and by extension of those around them.
Two areas that lecturers are investigating are Social Media and Collaborative Learning – but it is down to you, the learner, to help shape the platform on which material is being delivered. Would you engage with course material on Facebook? Can you help develop an academics idea of how best to use Twitter in the classroom? These conversations are taking place and you should not be afraid to take part in them.
If you are unsure of how to participate in these conversations then please contact us and let us help. We deliver training to academics about future technologies and how they can be used in class, but we don’t always get the responses of how that has worked from the student perspective. We’d love to hear from you!