If you’re starting college this fall, you could become a proud member of the class of 2016. Your college years can offer plenty of timeless memories, from football games to all nighters, but one thing that’s not classic about college these days is the technology. If you’re entering college in 2012, you’re pursuing a degree in an increasingly tech-saturated college environment.

Technology in higher education has exploded during your lifetime. When you started kindergarten, iPads didn’t exist and college students wrote papers without Wikipedia. Today, college students may be logging onto a class website to access course videos, downloading a lecture from iTunes U or participating in a class discussion via Twitter.

The rise of technology in higher education has transformed more than just where students learn. It’s also shaped the way students gather information and evaluate knowledge. Free, online resources such as videos from the Khan Academy enable students to go outside the classroom to learn and explore new topics with peers.  Likewise, though Wikipedia’s crowd-sourced nature can make it a questionable research tool, some professors have embraced it in the classroom to teach students about the dynamic and collaborative nature of online media.

Technology is not the only thing that’s changed a lot since you were born. You’ve witnessed the rise of Pottermania and the Olympic dominance of Michael Phelps. Your next four years can help you make big decisions about your college major, your life goals and your career path. Take a look at your class of 2016 timeline to see what else has happened to make your journey unique and imagine what the future could have in store.

Sources to link:

Projections of Education Statistics to 2020, National Center for Education Statistics, September 2011
Tablet Ownership Triples Among College Students, Wired Campus, March 2012

Your First College Year Survey 2011, Higher Education Research Institute, February 2012

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.

Time of your life: The journey of the class of 2016
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