- The rise in virtualization technology and students bringing their own devices has necessitated a shift in how colleges and universities think about computer labs, according to Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Education.
- While modernization efforts have focused on creating collaborative, open and flexible workspaces with resources like connected large-screen TVs for group work or PCs with specialty software like analytics software or the Adobe Creative Suite, IT managers have also kept in mind that traditional lab resources are still needed for students who can't afford their own devices.
- The boost in BYOD and even outsourced printer services has made it possible for many institutions to refocus IT investments in areas like improving device loaner programs, specialty software and virtual desktop availability, and lab space redesigns.
With data from the Educause Center for Analysis and Research showing 95% of students using personal laptops for coursework, it makes sense for institutions to rethink the resources they need to provide. As a greater focus is placed on career outcomes, for example, an institution may want to refocus its lab investments in creating spaces that mimic the "open" and collaborative spaces now popular in many office settings, or in providing students access to the latest specialty tech that they'll need to know how to use in their field. They may even consider creating makerspaces, equipped with tools like 3-D printers, in some of these locations.
Computer labs aren't the only locations on campus facing changes amid modern technological trends. Recent years have also seen officials think about the future role of campus bookstores and the spaces they occupy. With more textbooks and other resources going digital, not as much space is needed for physical stock. In some cases, that extra space has also seen its potential for learning opportunities and other profitable uses explored.