Tech should not replace traditional learning, say students

In the 21st century digital age, many universities are falling over backwards in a bid to attract students through their technology offering.

January 31, 2015

But if the views of sixth-formers speaking at a recent major conference are anything to go by, institutions should not be doing this at the expense of traditional methods.

Speaking at the “Future Proofing Universities” seminar, held during the Bett education technology conference in London earlier this month, the prospective students outlined what their expectations would be of technology when going to university.

Amelia Vegting, a year 13 student at Surbiton High School, said technology should be used to make lectures more engaging so that students were not just confined to “sitting, watching and listening”.

However, she warned universities that it was important to “combine not replace” technology with traditional one-on-one learning.

“I see technology as an addition and not a replacement of: you can’t get the same amount of learning as you can from a one-on-one basis with a tweet,” she said.

But she added that while technology itself was not a major factor in deciding which universities to apply to, the institutional websites that were easier to use gave them an edge.

“I could look at the videos of accommodation without having to go there,” the sixth-former explained.

Others stressed that an ability to interact with teaching staff through portals such as a virtual learning environment were an important issue for them.

In addition, the students expected that, akin to their schools, student societies would use social media to communicate with members.

Kamran Malek, a year 13 student at Devonport High School for Boys, said that one economics society Facebook group already enabled prospective students to get advice from current students.  

He also said that when looking at potential universities to apply to, one “streamed a lot of live lectures, which definitely changed my choice”.

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