Here We Are Now, Edutain Us

It's not just about learning anymore. The modern-day college experience mixes entertainment, technology and education.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “edutainment” is—well, education that entertains. In recent years, the field has made impressive advancements as teachers have tried to keep up with technology and the ever-changing methods of this multitasking generation.

Today, a higher education course could be instructed through a hybrid of media: podcasts, e-books, YouTube, etc. Professors can conduct in-class texting polls and receive instant results. Contemporary curricula include online games, collaborative blogging or classroom smart boards. Films related to the course concepts are often incorporated for viewing and analysis. More than 120 schools now utilize Second Life, a free network of 3D virtual worlds, to create new environments for socializing, learning and branding. Then there are mostly-fun-but-also-practical enhancements, like the artificial ski slope added to Liberty University’s campus. It gives students an extra recreational choice while also adding to the school’s club sports.

While edutainment makes knowledge easier to digest and apply, it also prepares students to be familiar with the technological developments in their chosen field. For example, students across the degree spectrum have a growing need to be instructed with tablet technology. Some schools even provide tablets to new students, like Adelaide University, which gave iPads to the 702 students who majored in science this year.

“In two to three years, tablet technology will be used increasingly across more areas; in the workplace, in restaurants and further within the health service. It will become part of normal day-to-day interaction,” says Ian Wilson, founder of the site iPadInEducation.co.uk.

As you can see, college means a heavier course load, but the approach can still be lighthearted and diverse. Edutainment proves that classes don’t have to be predictable to be effective—In fact, they could even be fun.

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