Over the last several years we have lived through a dramatic change in how people learn, much of the fast evolution resulting from advances in technology. Some of it was speeded by the pandemic, but we would likely have ended up where we are today even if COVID hadn’t happened. Progress never stops.
Technology has quickly changed how education is delivered and received.
From self-learning to the flipped classroom approach, we have seen tech significantly impact learning and teaching methodologies. Information and communication technology (ICT) provides many benefits for digital learning and student-centric engagement.
If you feel like you may be falling behind in the rapidly changing world of educational technology, you’re not alone. That’s why we compiled the top trends in the field today. Whether you’re a teacher, publisher, or other educational professional, the information in this guide will help you feel you have a solid understanding of the basics.
Technology has enabled everyone involved in the education process to stay connected. The pandemic and the period following it proved that it’s possible for all involved in learning to connect, discuss, and do pretty much everything collaboratively, even at a distance.
When students team up together to work on a project or solve a problem, it teaches them to collaborate. Working together improves understanding, increases engagement, and prepares students for the realities of today’s workplace.
In the traditional education model, a teacher enters a classroom, speaks for a significant amount of time, and everyone leaves when the bell rings. Today’s technology bridges the gap between teachers and students. They can now interact with each other more often, even at a distance and during non-school hours. The best teachers aren’t just instructors; they also act as mentors, helping students in their overall development. The collaborative approach to learning also allows students to have more frequent and improved interactions with their peers, improving interpersonal skills.
Collaborative learning facilitated by technology is a big win for everyone involved in education.
Learning Outside the Classroom Environment
In the past, learning mainly occurred in the classroom and only extended into the home through homework assignments.
Technology has made it possible for a great deal of learning to happen outside the classroom, extending the breadth and scope of education. With mLearning (mobile learning) and eLearning (electronic learning) growing in popularity, students can learn at their own pace and time — and explore more if they find a subject interesting. This trend is expected to keep growing as it is a convenient method of delivering as well as receiving information. Developing mobile-first content allows students to engage with their coursework any place, any time.
Even more critical, eBooks and other materials can be embedded with many features, including annotation tools, bookmarks, hyperlinks, dictionaries, search features, videos, and more. These add-ons make learning more flexible and engaging. Students who are connected with materials that provide educators with extraordinary teaching flexibility will oftentimes learn better.
Social Media as a Learning Tool
Whoever would have thought that social media — the medium that brought the world Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg — would one day be accepted as a crucial part of education?
With kids having access to a wide range of social media platforms, it only makes sense to leverage it as an educational resource. The best teachers have found ways to use social media to enhance learning. It can be a great communication tool, allowing students to interact with other students and teachers. Instead of just sharing silly videos and images with their friends and followers, they can also pass on ideas, lessons, and meaningful learning concepts.
Teachers who allow the use of social media find it helps students stay interested in their coursework. Social media is here to stay, and incorporating it into learning modules encourages a culture of collaboration and sharing, resulting in a better education. It can also teach kids how to use social media properly, so they can make better and safer use of it.
Interactivity in the Classroom
Bringing technology into the classroom makes learning more lively and interactive. Unlike printed books, eBooks embedded with videos, games, and other experiences, allow for more interaction in school. The expanded classroom model has made it possible for students to do more rote learning at home and participate in engaging and expansive activities in school.
Students can have discussions and do creative things in classrooms, providing an interactive environment where they are completely involved in the learning process. Creating interaction and engagement has become a priority for many schools and universities. This type of learning has grown significantly and promises to continue to do so in the future because educators who use it know it’s effective.
Data Management and Analytic Ease
Managing data has become much more convenient and effective with the advent of technology in education. Teachers can now have a clear and complete view of each student’s learning experience, including the number of tests attempted, questions answered correctly, chapters completed, and more.
This type of transparency has improved education because teachers can spend less time tracking numbers and providing more guidance based on metrics. Teachers can develop action plans to improve student’s performance based on current numbers, which makes the learning process more dynamic and effective.
Immersive Learning with Augmented and Virtual Reality
With the introduction of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) into education, learning has become more immersive. Unlike static images and hands-on experiments in the lab, students can now interact with enhanced versions of pictures and objects on their laptops and mobile devices. The augmented and virtual reality trends in education technology are making learning a more compelling and immersive experience.
Augmented reality provides an enhanced view of an actual image. Virtual reality allows students to experience concepts they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Both techniques have taken learning into new realms. AR and VR are increasingly being used to explain complex concepts. From atoms to planets, from Egypt to the Colosseum, students can explore complex, unusual, and distant topics in a safe and immersive way, gaining a deeper understanding than read only instruction can provide.
Gamification in Education
Gamification is the latest educational innovation to gain popularity. Teachers love it for the simple reason that it increases student involvement.
Gamification is leveraged in classrooms in many different creative ways, such as interactive experiences, competitive events, leaderboards, reward points, badges, stickers, and more. Of all the trends in education technology, gamification guarantees an increase in participation, engagement, and competition. Students become more actively involved in their learning so they can improve their scores and leaderboard rankings. The desire to win results in improved performance and better retention of information. Gamification incentivizes students to practice and learn to succeed, improving the overall learning process. It’s why teachers use gamification to increase engagement, boost motivation, and create an interactive classroom environment.
Educating on Cybersecurity
Understanding data security is critical, even for the youngest students. While cloud storage has become the norm these days, it presents problems if misused. It often results in hacks and puts vulnerable kids at risk. Another critical problem is cyberbullying which can cause problems in the immediate and long term.
Bringing Cybersecurity and bullying topics into the classroom allows teachers to educate kids on navigating the real-world challenges they face more effectively. Perhaps more than any aspect of bringing technology into the classroom, this aspect can help keep them safe and help them deal with the risks they face. While all the uses of technology in learning are critical for teachers and publishers to embrace, this is one that could save lives.
Personalized learning isn’t a new concept, but it is one that technology has accelerated and enhanced. It tailors teaching and learning to individual student’s needs and preferences. However, the data and insights generated by technology, along with advances in artificial intelligence and data analytics, have taken it to a new level. Teachers can use the information supplied by educational software to offer personalized recommendations on content, pacing, and learning strategies. In many cases, the platforms can recommend these things independently without teacher intervention.
Students feel less frustrated when their learning isn’t too fast or slow, too easy or challenging. They’re more engaged when content is right for them and presented at a comfortable pace. Technology makes it easier for teachers to personalize lessons to every student, not just the best and worst ones, who typically get all the attention in traditional classroom environments.
EdTech in the Classroom: The Bottom Line
It was only a matter of time before the education sector was taken over by technology. The pandemic speeded up the process, and it shows no sign of slowing down. New opportunities come up all the time. Leverage the information in this guide to get up to date. Contact the experts at EdGate if you’re an educator looking for compliant EdTech-backed content and solutions. If you’re a publisher or education technology professional, we’re here to help you with your content development and approval processes. Contact us to find out how we can support you today.