Educational technology progresses fast and there are a couple of reasons for that. One of them is the spread of technologies: social media, interactive content, and so on. A tech-savvy generation has become younger, as well as the average age of gadget users. If previously the benefits of technological development were employed mostly by adults, now children have become a full-fledged target audience (and we are not talking about PC games).
Here a new important player enters the educational scene - the e-learning sector. What do we mean by that? ED-tech or “education technology” - is the combination of computer hardware, software, and educational practices used to enhance learning and create an inclusive, more engaging learning experience.
Technologies in the classroom bring a lot of benefits for everyone involved: children, teachers, and parents. Why? It
Helps students learn things faster, keeps them engaged
Makes complex information easier to understand
Helps parents engage their kids to learning at home
Provides quick and easy access to information
Supports teachers in finding new approaches
Adds gaming elements to support theoretical materials
Gives equal access to learning possibilities for everyone
Increases remote learning opportunities
Another reason for the evolving popularity of e-learning is the global health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the market immeasurably and the world had to adjust to the new conditions as quickly as possible. According to UNESCO, over 1.2 billion students in 186 countries were affected by pandemics in the March of 2020. According to Forbes, investments in education technology are expected to grow by 16.1% a year to reach $181 billion by 2025 for this exact reason.
The only way not to interrupt the learning process was to engage in online (remote) learning. So, there was a need to develop new educational practices. Now we’ve decided to explore a few popular trends in the Ed-tech sector. So, let’s proceed.
Machine Learning (ML) with the help of an algorithmic approach, accumulates data, learns from it, and provides insights within time. ML is able to make valuable predictions and decisions that are improved with experience.
Benefits of machine learning in education:
Feedback improves E-learning. Personal opinions are really useful in managing student performance and creating online educational courses. ML receives feedback, interprets it, and notifies the educator immediately. It is a good approach to know what works in your course and what isn’t.
Personalized Learning Experience. Students are individuals with different learning perceptions and AI can personalize the educational process to every participant. It gives teachers the opportunity to analyze performance, monitor how students understand concepts, test different approaches, set up better e-learning practices, and choose the one that brings the most benefits.
Assumptions about suitable career paths. With the help of ML it’s possible to understand what are the students’ strengths and analyze their performance and capabilities. This may be a great tool in a career choice as ML monitors progress and suggests the most effective career path based on the set criteria.
Among different ED-tech trends, we’d like to focus on the one that may become a leading tool in education.
Augmented reality or AR is the ability to combine real-world and augmented environments with digital manipulation. VR (Virtual reality) is a technology where users can be fully engaged in computer-generated reality with the help of specific equipment.
These technologies bring immersive components into the studying process: students can wander through medieval castles, find themselves in historical places, recreate three-dimensional models (of the human body, planet, etc), conduct experiments.
Medical students can learn anatomy and practice surgeries on virtual patients, astronauts learn technical skills, and so on.
Gamification is also an example of how technology is disrupting education. What is this? It is software (web platform or mobile app) that combines games (animated media, different quizzes, progress boards, scoring systems, etc) with traditional educational elements. For instance, from now on students can draw on the board with their fingers, display their presentations, etc. Teachers can introduce the class to video tutorials or game-based solutions to go through the learning process together.
Education always searches for ways to make learning even more effective, especially during a pandemic. There are many ways in which ED-tech can change the traditional educational approach to engage more students, facilitate the teachers’ work, provide an immersive experience, ensure inclusivity, give full access to the classroom 24/7 and satisfy the tech-savvy generation.