By: Amol Arora
Technology has changed the way we look at the world around us. With various path-breaking technologies emerging every year, we are observing massive changes in different spheres, education being no exception. Keeping up with the emerging technology trends can have a major impact on the way education is being imparted in schools today. It will help offer students with latest opportunities and unique learning experiences that they need and deserve.
But what exactly are the educational technology trends that have been making major waves in the recent years? Here’s a list of the 7 classroom technology trends in the current education environment that you should not miss out on!
Digital textbooks have brought a radical transformation in the world of education, with higher education slowly adopting the digital era. Learning from plain textbooks in traditional classrooms is not exciting and would be outdated soon. Digital textbooks and Tablets are engaging and help save many textbooks every year. Textbooks are getting more expensive as they need to be revised or updated every few years. Textbooks are usually used for at least seven years before a new edition comes out, not giving children access to the latest information. A digital textbook or a Tablet is not only cost efficient but can easily be updated to reflect the most recent data. It helps provide students with the best content with the best learning outcomes at the best possible prices!
With advanced technology, classrooms are now being given a multi-sensory learning environment through interactive whiteboards. Interactive whiteboards are a smart way to help students learn better and engage them completely. They offer a huge step forward in educating the next generation of students. Interactive whiteboards support visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles, leading to consistent improvement in the learning outcomes. They aid in teaching abstract and complex concepts to the students in a more engaging and fun way. They also allow teachers to record their instructions which can later be shared with the students for revision.
Remote learning through virtual classrooms is reshaping education like never before. There are no limitations of time and distance, and all one needs is a reliable Wi-Fi connection paired with apt mobile technologies. High quality of learning is made possible for students by providing them access to educators or subject matter experts who may not be reached due to distance or time constraint. Education can be tailored to suit the needs of the students when various technologies like video conferencing, social media, pre-recorded videos, class forums etc. are clubbed together. Remote learning model also allows students who can’t make it to school to attend classes virtually.
Gamification is the concept of applying game-design thinking to various classroom activities to make them more engaging and fun. Educational video content can be taken to the next level by adding gamification. Interactive things are always more easy to remember and retain. Learning process can become easy with this approach. The whole idea is to use the typical game technique of giving challenges; give rewards to winners, then provide harder challenges with even bigger rewards. There is a science behind it. When you win at a game, your mind releases a chemical called dopamine that triggers motivation and pleasure. This makes learning an overall positive experience, one that you don’t have to force students to enjoy. So the main concept of interactive gamification is to challenge the students, let them feel great about overcoming the challenge, then challenge them more.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality is the next big thing in the education sector, enhancing student learning and engagement. It cuts across all the barriers and gives a feeling of things being right in front of your eyes. Students find themselves immersed in what they are learning and are able to process the information better. Augmented Reality is another technology that can take learning to the next level. The educators can use augmented reality in innovative ways to make any boring lesson interesting and interactive. It can be used to overlay interactive digital elements like text, image, video clip, animation etc. to give real-time experience. Augmented reality can promote 21st century skills like critical thinking analysis, creativity and problem-solving.
Another emerging technology is the Block-chain technology which is especially useful when there is a need to collaborate distributed information in a database. In education sector, Block-chain can prove to be very useful in examination management, verification of student credentials, certificate verification etc. Life-long learning records can also be managed using Block-chain. Learning, being a broad process calls for effective analyzing and tracking to understand the results better. Learning analytics using emerging Block-chain technology is reshaping how learning behaviors of children are being monitored. It is helping teachers to provide students with targeted improvement to courses and help them deliver enhanced results.
Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, is the latest buzzword that is finding its way into various sectors, including education. AI has revolutionized the way curriculums are being implemented in schools, and has given birth to innovative ideas. There are various AI applications for education today that have made learning more convenient and personalized. Thanks to smart devices, the educational materials are becoming more accessible to students. AI has also resulted in automation of administrative jobs, allowing educators to spend more time with students. In future, AI can also aid in providing detailed analysis of student performance in the examinations, as a teachers’ ability to comprehend student performance has its own limitations. As per studies, adoption of AI in education sector will explode over the next five years.
These were a few trends that have taken the education sector by storm. There’s a lot more to discover and the opportunities ahead are very exciting.
(The author is Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools and the views expressed in the article are his own)