Last updated: 15.07.14

New technology can 'greatly enhance higher education'

College students are having their educational experiences transformed by the capabilities of new technologies, says tech manufacturer Dell.

The computing giant has claimed that the most recent developments in the tech sector mean that students are able to bring their ideas to life and inspire their own learning a lot more easily.

For example, new technologies are transforming the way in which science students are able to work remotely. It used to be the case that experimentally-intensive subjects like chemistry and physics required pupils to be lab-based in order to properly progress and gain the expert feedback they need.

However, advances in cloud computing and technology-enabled active learning mean that they are able to carry out work as and when it suits them. Advanced simulations can be used as a means for students to learn and implement theories from a lecture in a virtual lab, anywhere and at any time.

Isaac Chuang, a physics professor at MIT, told Dell's Tech Page One blog: "Instant-feedback online problem sets are a tremendous asset to MIT students because they provide rapid, direct and effective feedback about what a student understands.

"From the professor's standpoint, online tutors [help] students who are catching up in a subject, while also allowing students who have mastered a subject to move forward more rapidly."

Other useful recent innovations include the 3D printer, which allows students to produce real-life model of design prints they have created in a matter of hours. This is having a profound effect in subjects like product design and art, where pupils must no longer rely on a process of submitting plans to a registered manufacturer and waiting days to receive the result.

According to a recent study from City & Guilds, 80 per cent of UK further education tutors believe that technology has the power to positively impact teaching and learning. It is now up to establishments to provide the investment and training necessary to unlock the potential of these tools.