A new study by Campus Technology recently demonstrated that going digital is becoming a major part of the advancement of education. From grade schools all the way to advanced studies by professors intended for other thought leaders, everything is moving through a digital channel. In one example, Howard Salis, a Penn State University professor, produced a DNA compiler application and then sent it into the cloud. This is one tool that will see a lot more use among those who begin to teach online and use digital metrics in order to help produce better classes.
Another tool that will see more functioning is the ability for professors to leverage technology in order to spend more time in the classroom actually teaching students hands on. Moving forward, the schools that leverage these abilities the most will likely see the greatest number of students enrolling in order to learn.
Digitalization versus digitization
Bob Bramucci, vice chancellor of technology and learning services of the South Orange County Community College District, seconds a distinction often made between digitization and digitalization. Digitization is simply taking analog tools like a book and making them available digitally. Digitalization is leveraging these same tools in order to teach better. When students learn from online tools, they are gaining the same research skills they would have taken from books. The exception is that book studies are ultimately losing favor as more professors post their work primarily through online means. While studying history may require someone to read original documents, this isn't necessarily the case for dental students. Leveraging dental academic software to learn about the latest advancements in surgery for periodontal tissue is basically the same is reading about the same development in a magazine.
The difference is that the new digital format allows for more content such as images and video that will give a better understanding of the surgical practice. This will help students rather than hurt them. Those who feel that books are helping students learn are forgetting that books are growing irrelevant. To lament the loss of books would be like saying a dentist should learn Latin in order to study ancient surgical techniques. Modern medicine is always forward looking, and students need to become adept at handling online studies now while they are still students and have the opportunity to spend the time they won't have in a practice.
Everything is going on the cloud
To further the point about work going online, many students and professors have begun to learn on cloud-based tools. According to The Guardian, this has meant that even students who are in developing countries can get a first-world education by learning through tablet computers provided by aid groups. It also means that young adults in the U.S. can use dental school software to take tests and study for exams. Professors can use the same technology in order to grade papers, assign homework and study student scores to see how people are doing academically. The world is becoming a place where everyone does their work on computers from a remote location. Rather than being a bad thing, it expands what students can learn when they are in the classroom. Professors can spend time teaching students who spent the previous evening reading or listening to a lecture and taking notes. This so-called flipped classroom model allows for more instruction time, rather than less.
Everything is going digital, and the colleges that add dental and oral hygiene academic software to their programs will find that students learn faster and retain more information. It is simply the direction things are going.