Screen tests: video in HE

The future of HE can, should and will be built around video, says Alex Parlour

Education Secretary Damian Hinds recently introduced a new strategy for the use of innovative technologies in schools. With this, it’s clear that policymakers understand the positive impact technology can have on student learning and in recent years, emerging tech, and video in particular, has become a fundamental part of modern pedagogy – especially in higher education.

In HE, video learning tools enhanced through features such as wireless connectivity, remote access, interactive content and more, offer numerous benefits. For many universities, this has become a mainstay in their teaching practices, supporting a move to active and collaborative learning. This pedagogic style puts the student at the centre of the learning experience, which has undoubtedly had a positive impact on lecturers and students alike. Promethean’s 2018/19 State of Technology report supports this thinking, revealing 94% of educators now recognise that edtech can improve engagement levels in classrooms.

Generation Z is generation video

Video is embedded in the lives of generation Z. The fact that the majority of people in HE are now made up of generation Z students is one key driver behind the greater use of edtech applications. With this shift comes a change in attitude towards both education and technology. We only have to look at the success of short-form video app TikTok, which became the most popular app in Q1 2019, to see how gen Z engages with content and to understand its technological expectations. Namely, that video technology should be a resource available to them in all aspects of life, learning included. With 93% of institutions believing that video increases satisfaction during students’ learning experiences, organisations that don’t put modern and integrated AV infrastructure in place to facilitate this are at risk of losing the engagement of their core demographic.


Video technology future-proofs higher education. Educators can help universities stay ahead of the curve with investments in the latest multi-purpose technology. 

Recent data found that over 50% of the sector’s workload will be hosted in the cloud by 2020, further assimilating the use of, and access to, recorded lectures and interactive content. As gen Z becomes the predominant student demographic, technology is becoming much more integrated to its natural learning habits, with video being at the centre of this. When upgrading video and broader education technology tools, educators should look to use different types of media in lessons – from short films, presentations, polls and interactive apps – to keep current and future generations of students engaged. Within universities, a recent meta-analysis of 126 studies carried out by MIT suggested that out of all 30 studies of technology-assisted learning programmes, 20 reported statistically significant positive effects on their learning experience. 

With edtech solutions only set to become more advanced and more important to the learning experience, laying the groundwork for tech-powered learning today will future-proof universities for generations to come.

Network-based lecture solutions make maintenance more straightforward, reduce hardware and bring down costs 

The self-sufficient student

Students are nowadays increasingly self-reliant and eager to pursue their studies with flexibility. Advancements in video technology have meant students are empowered to take their work into their own hands. By using lecture capture and cloud-compatible video platforms, lessons can be recorded and uploaded; available for students to digest remotely and on demand. This newfound accessibility gives students increased flexibility and freedom to experience HE in a way that best suits them. It further allows students to study part-time more easily, or balance other commitments such as work or caring duties, opening up learning to more people who would be unable to commit to a strict classroom schedule. Video technology can essentially help create a digital campus. But remote students are not just catching up with lectures online. They can interact and engage with their peer groups, join discussions and take part in quizzes thanks to dynamic, feature-rich content. Meanwhile, these advanced lesson-capture solutions provide added benefits for AV and IT teams too. Network-based lecture capture solutions make maintenance more straightforward, reducing the amount of hardware that needs to be installed, in turn also dramatically lowering installation costs.

Active learning

Active learning, fundamentally, is when teaching strives to involve students directly in their own educational experience. 

Gen Z students are embracing this new learning style and universities have increased their adoption of active learning spaces alongside more traditional lecture sessions, to meet those student requirements. Due to generation Z’s confidence in and familiarity with video, students’ self-engagement can be driven by this technology more than any other. Essentially, video technology is able to support autonomous, active learning because it is both technically innovative and already used frequently by the students outside of the HE setting.

With video technology providing lecturers with the ability to review lessons, enabling students’ independence in their research and catching up on missed content, and providing AV teams with more straightforward maintenance, it is a fundamental resource for HE establishments and will remain so for years to come.

University decision-makers such as deans and university board governors are beginning to understand the positive impact of video. This, as well as the shift in students’ expectations, show that video is becoming a vital resource in universities. While education organisations – and universities in particular – have long learned to adapt to technological change, it is more important than ever they invest in the right technology and create active learning spaces today, if they don’t want to be left behind by the students of tomorrow. 

Alex Parlour is corporate and education marcomms manager for Sony Professional Solutions Europe 

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