The technology outlook: Macquarie perspectives

The New Media Consortium recently released its 2015 Outlook report predicting the road ahead for technology in Australian tertiary education.  I asked a few Macquarie staff about which trends – and speed bumps – stood out.

shermanyoungProfessor Sherman Young, Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching

“The report identifies some key trends accelerating technology adoption, and of particular interest are the two highest ranked trends – around increasing use of blended learning designs and the need to redesign learning spaces. Both speak clearly to priorities we have already identified as we think about our Learning and Teaching strategy here at Macquarie…”

Natalie SpenceNatalie Spence, Educational Developer

“My research, as well as my professional work, is in the material conditions for learning – what tools and spaces students use for their learning, both online and offline – so I’m interested in the move toward hybrid/blended learning and reconfiguring the spaces for learning. It’s a matter of finding the best medium: some things are best facilitated online and other go more smoothly when people are in the same room. The prevalence of student group work, and collaboration in our own work, means that we have to think about how this is supported by places both physical and digital.”

“Danny Liu” by Unknown - provided by Danny Liu ©2015 Macquarie University
Danny Liu

Dr Danny Liu, Lecturer in Academic Practice

“An interesting “meta-trend” is that universities are no longer the bastions of all knowledge. Through many great open online resources, the resetting of expectations of faculty, and increasing personalisation of learning, the question that is becoming increasingly important is, why and what do we “teach”? As the world moves to a more connected way of knowing, we need to model the “how” and “why” of learning, instead of imparting the “what” through traditional teaching.”

“Redesigning physical learning spaces is a key trend, but we need to be thinking more holistically about this and considering how the physical and virtual spaces can synergise. Even though Macquarie’s teaching spaces are mostly set up as traditional classrooms, a small amount of reconfiguration of the physical space in the first five minutes of class and a rethinking of how this can work with redesigned online spaces and student devices can lead to amazing changes in student learning. We need to remember that improving student learning is at the centre, and there are things that we can do in our classrooms and other interactions with students which don’t necessarily require technology, but rather a renewed focus on a heart for learning and teaching. If you read between the lines of the NMC report, this is clear – it’s not just about the technology, but rather how it helps us to model, encourage, and excite students to become deep, complex thinkers.”

You can download the report here.  And be sure to let us know in the comments which trends should (or shouldn’t) have made it onto the list.

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