Few would doubt technology has transformed our world. Through tools such as video conferencing and instant messaging, we can easily talk to people halfway around the world. While social networking sites allow us to share the most intimate aspects of our life with the people who are closest to us.
Don’t forget how technology has transformed business by allowing more and more people can work from anywhere if they have a connection to the internet. But what about education? In many ways, the industry of education has lagged in terms of adopting education, but things are starting to change and these six ways Edtech is transforming the world.
- Collaborating Learning
It used to be that you could only collaborate with your classmates or with other students in the same school. However, technology has opened the door for students to collaborate on projects with other students over great distances.
For example, leaders in Dubai have targeted improvements in education as part of a process to ensure the emirate remains competitive. Not to be outdone, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi has put in place solutions to connect the students of Ras Al Khaimah with others from around the world. This initiative helped to better prepare students for broader world by increasing their global awareness and digital literacy.
- Assessment Tools
For hundreds of years the only way to know if a student had learned the course material was to put them through a series of exams. While exams still have their place a new way to track development is transforming assessment.
These include tools which track attention, games, and even back-channel chat. Together, they are changing the way educators track progress and have the chance to create a more holistic ecosystem for learning.
Another big plus is that they are creating the opportunity for an entire generation of software developers to come up with new tools. This builds a virtuous cycle which not only enhances the quality of education but also creates jobs as well.
- Project-Based Learning
While some of this can be collaborative, other projects can be individual journeys. One theme which increasingly ties project based learning together is technology. Not just the computers needed for research and preparing the final report, but also programs for modeling and running experiments, and even tools such as 3-D printers.
Taken together these developments are transforming education by preparing students for the workplace of the future.
- Asynchronous Learning
It used to be that learning, or more appropriately teaching, was sequestered into neat blocks of time. The period, the term, the year. However, technology has the power to blow this paradigm to bits. Not only can learning happen anywhere and at any time, but the order can be personalized based on a student’s ability to absorb the material. Granted, truly personalized learning is still a long way off, but ‘blended’ classrooms are moving beyond curiosity to the norm.
- Augmented & Virtual Reality
While this technology has its roots in gaming, both augmented and virtual reality are quickly making their way into the classroom. The applications are endless. In one class a student could be teleported to the outer reaches of the universe, while in another they could experience ancient Greece, or go into the practical uses of geometry. Virtual reality and associated tools could even be used in teaching languages. Ultimately there is no limit to where this technology could help to transform education.
Let’s face it, our children do not know a world without the internet. In fact, it has been so long that I can barely remember life without email or other online tools which we take for granted.
This is not to say that traditional books and classroom learning do not have a place. However, smart educators understand the need to meld digital tools with traditional classroom learning. Doing so has a direct impact on student motivation and few will doubt that motivated students are active learners.
The process of education is constantly changing, this is largely due to how technology has transformed our world, as such it is inevitable that it would transform education as well.