New tech is radically transforming education and extending the reach of learning far beyond the classroom and even state and national boundaries. Students not only have new ways to learn and the ability to learn from anywhere, but new tech also allows them to experience what they are learning.
Educational interactions are becoming more and more interactive, which helps students retain more information for longer. Look for today’s students to leap ahead in the depth and breadth of their knowledge.
If you are wondering what tech is bringing about such educational transformation, Michael Conner reveals five of the most influential tech trends transforming learning.
About Michael Conner, Ed.D: He is the CEO & Founder of Agile Evolutionary Group. He believes that in order to achieve different results, we must approach problems differently. With close to two decades of experience in the classroom and in positions of educational leadership, Dr. Conner is interested in using data science to provide objective statistics to educate businesses. He attended the Harvard Business Analytics Program from 2018 to 2020.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR are the most exciting educational technology (EdTech) advancements and could significantly impact students’ learning experiences.
VR and AR technology are similar in that both utilize glasses or goggles to simulate reality or enhance current reality by mixing it with digital aspects and information. The user could interact with things in a virtual space that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, or AR could provide more information about items in our reality.
VR and AR can go to another level of interactivity when they incorporate haptics–physical feedback or movement tied to changes in a media source. An example would be if a virtual explosion happened, a device would vibrate to make the user feel more connected to the activity.
VR and AR advance learning because they increase interaction and immersion in education. A student learning about a historical event could be placed in a recreation in a virtual world or pull up additional information about an animal or tree through augmented reality.
Companies like Hewlett-Packard are even using virtual reality to train technicians in different offices to service various types of equipment.
Yes, VR and AR are incredible, but they also have one tremendous advantage, immersion results in students learning far more.
Those who hauled heavy backpacks filled with books are indeed jealous that one laptop, tablet, or e-reader can be the repository for all a student’s required books. That those books can include animations, videos, audio files, and definitions makes it genuinely unfair to those who attended school years ago.
At home and in the classroom, a digital textbook makes even more information available to expand on concepts in the book. Interactivity and expanded media make the experience foster greater engagement resulting in more effective learning.
eBooks have flipped the dynamic of learning in school and doing practical work at home. Interactive and lively learning experiences let a teacher interact in new ways and assist and guide students.
Data Management and Analytics
Data and analytics are changing how teachers analyze student performance, strengths, and weaknesses. Instead of seeing the performance in segments like a current year or month, the entire student’s journey can be analyzed to determine what is working and is not.
With more holistic information, teachers are enabled to develop more effective action plans to improve performance. Should the data reveal a troubling pattern with an individual student or collective issue, the teacher can pivot quickly to alleviate the problem.
An excellent aspect of data management and analytics is that it relieves the teacher of time spent monitoring performance issues, creating more time for instruction and working closely with students.
Social Media Learning
Amazingly, social media isn’t always a pit of meaningless videos and disinformation. In the hands of educators, it can facilitate learning and bring students together. Educational institutions use social media to communicate because students can follow the school and class pages. A teacher can post videos or new resources to a class page, and social features in eBooks allow students to share opinions and projects.
Most importantly, social media helps expand class cohesion, and students interact for the purpose of learning.
Everyone loves a good game, and we all remember how engaged we have been when competing against others. Tech takes classroom gamification beyond teams or individuals earning points for specific tasks. With systems that can track achievements in conjunction with other electronic media and keep score, digital leaderboards are automatically updated, creating tremendous engagement and boosting motivation.
Technology now lets teachers create classroom game shows with eye-catching visual designs. Students can compete as teams or individuals and then be rewarded with digital badges or newly unlocked levels.
Gamification can extend beyond the classroom when students access the current games from home to continue the competition. The incentive to win results in engaged learning.
Education’s Tech Future is Bright
As Michael Conner explains,
“Tech innovation in education is a process of constant improvements and innovation. As the tech becomes more robust, new ways to experience learning will continue to be created.
VR and AR, eBooks, gamification, analytics, and social media learning continue to improve.
Eventually, classrooms could be completely virtual and create learning experiences we can’t even imagine.”