Twenty-First Century Technology for Twenty-First Century Learners

Robert Talbert, Grand Valley State University

Allendale, Michigan USA
Slides at:

No cricket

UWI: Founded 1948, currently 36000 students on four campuses, serves the West Indies and Caribbean region

GVSU: Founded 1960, currently 26000 students on three campuses, serves West Michigan and the Midwest US

Key attributes desired from graduates:

Critical and creative thinkers

Effective communicators

Innovative and entrepreneurial

Globally aware and culturally competent

Lifelong learners




21st Century Learners

What is the purpose of a university education?

How does a person learn new things?

What do you reasonably expect to remember from your courses 10 years from now?

21st Century Higher Education

Meta-analysis of 225 separate studies on active learning versus lecture.

Students in lecture courses were 55% more likely to fail the course than students in active-learning focused courses.

Students in active learning courses scored about half a standard deviation higher on exams than students in lecture courses.

"If the experiments analyzed here had been conducted as randomized controlled trials of medical interventions, they may have been stopped for benefit—meaning that enrolling patients in the control condition might be discontinued because the treatment being tested was clearly more beneficial."

21st Century Technology that Serves 21st Century Learners

(Late) 20th Century Technology

Accessible Technology

Economically accessible (free or cheap)

Physically accessible (portable, multi-platform, hardware-agnostic)

Intellectually accessible (easy to learn and use)

Interactives using Desmos

Student video presentations


Making something together that is of equal value to all

Thank you

Robert Talbert, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan USA


Other 21st Century Technologies

Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms

Online polling software: Top Hat, Poll Everywhere, Learning Catalytics

Interactive writing tools: Google Docs, Overleaf, WriteLaTeX, StackEdit

Video capture: Screencast-o-Matic, SnagIt, Camtasia

Video hosting and sharing: YouTube, Vimeo

Math software: Desmos, SageMath Cloud, Wolfram|Alpha

Programming languages: Too many to list