Ricoh is eager to make a contribution to this process. The IT company has over 109,000 employees, and offices in more than 100 countries. ‘In a world that’s constantly changing and where technological developments come thick and fast, investment in education is crucial for Ricoh’, says Paul Nanninga, Senior Vice-President Sales & Marketing of Ricoh Europe. ‘We aim to closely match our services to what the education sector needs: together with students, lecturers and researchers we seek new opportunities and strive to make the most of them. The campus in Utrecht is an excellent location for this. It is a highly interesting ecosystem which brings together all the ingredients needed for educational innovation.’
Education of the future
In recent years, Utrecht University has been making strong investments in educational innovation and ICT. The university-wide Educate-it programme is supporting lecturers in their work to adjust their teaching. Educate-it helps lecturers to innovate their teaching activities and to blend this with available IT tools.
Besides changing their didactic methods and making use of software, there is also a need to adapt the design of teaching spaces (Future Learning Spaces). To this achieve this, experimental rooms are being used at Utrecht University to conduct research into the effects of new facilities and forms of spatial setup.
Not only are various kinds of furniture being tested at the Utrecht Teaching and Learning Lab, but also advanced 3D printers, smartboards, tablet tables and lightboards. Special 360-degree cameras are being used to record research into use of space. The University is also contributing to the development of various kinds of product software, such as for digital test recording and serious games.
‘In order to carry out experiments like these and to find out whether technologies can make a contribution to education and research, it’s essential to have synergy between educational institutions and the business community’, says Oudeman. ‘So we are very pleased that the collaboration with Ricoh will be intensified.’