In higher education institutions across the U.S., some professors have made large-scale changes to their teaching styles and classrooms using the most up-to-date technology; other classes have remained exactly the same. But no matter how the class is taught, one thing has changed without a doubt: the way students study.
While some students still take down lecture notes by hand and study with a textbook, gone are the universal, one-size-fits-all studying methods. With active visual learners, silent studiers, group collaborators, and more, students are different from one another—and now have a wide array of choices when it comes to studying. Many students in 2013 are choosing to study, learn, and take notes using the most current devices and programs. Learning that takes place outside the classroom is changing with available technology, and having that knowledge can only better help faculty understand what should go on during precious class time.
With the immense popularity of Google and Gmail, students and staff alike find Google Drive to be quite effortless to pick up. Students can offer up and edit ideas for class projects in real time, easily back up homework assignments, and even submit work online without worrying about Microsoft Word version compatibility—or harming a single tree. For those who want to go beyond Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote, plenty of options are available.
There are easy ways to video conference with someone across campus or across the globe, use social media for polling communities, or whip out personal tablets for helpful videos or websites professors have pointed out. Bubble.us helps groups brainstorm together and create mind maps, making the tool incredibly useful for studying and classroom collaboration alike. Interactive whiteboards are used most often by teachers, but for students making presentations, TAs, or postgraduate students, it can become a useful and interactive practice tool. Some schools are even switching the standard class-lecture/study-homework way of thought, and putting an emphasis on in-class collaboration. Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, for example, puts lectures online before class so that actual class time can be spent with hands-on learning techniques, not passive listening.
However you teach in class, knowing how your students study will help you understand how their time is being used. Even better, knowing the technology your students are using will help you teach and communicate on a new level.