When it comes to tech, the education sector has been the butt of many jokes over the years. Thanks to a lack of parental choice and little in the way of competition, the market has remained pretty much the same as it was back at the start of the last century. Children sit neatly in rows, watching an instructor at the front of the classroom who gives them the information they need to pass an exam.
Over the course of the twentieth century, not much changed because technology wasn’t particularly powerful, at least when it came to applications for education. But that’s all starting to change. The education sector wants to keep the status quo, but technologies are becoming so advanced that it is becoming impossible for them to ignore.
Recently, the technology expert Jason Ohler asked educators worldwide to dig deep and think about how technology could actually enhance the services they offer their students. Here are some of the tech trends in education that are emerging right now.
Transmedia storytelling has been a hot topic in education for at least a decade. But it has, according to Ohler, remained underutilized. The benefit of transmedia is the fact that it bridges the gap between critical and creative thinking. The basic idea behind transmedia is to use digital tools to tell the same story across multiple platforms. The idea isn’t to limit children to either text or images but to incorporate both into a seamless storytelling experience.
Ohler says that he hopes that transmedia will open up a portal for educators to really tease out children’s innate creativity while also helping them see that the same story can be told in multiple formats. Bridging these formats allows them to practice keeping the narrative consistent and introducing critical thinking skills to the creative process. Ohler calls this new form of learning “creatical thinking, ” and it is only possible, he says, because of advances in technology.
The Semantic Web
Another promising development on the horizon for education is the so-called semantic web. The idea here is to build the web in such a way that computers will be able to read it, understand it, and give users the results that they are looking for.
It’s an interesting idea, and it could potentially provide students with access to the precise information that they need to answer their particular problem, but it’s still a little way off. Computers need to get better at understanding natural language before the semantic web, sometimes called web 4.0, is fully realised.
Ohler says that in the future, the semantic web will allow everybody to be connected to answers and help as and when they need it.
When Microsoft unveiled the Hololens for the first time back at E3 in 2015, the jaw of the audience collectively dropped and hit the floor. Essentially, the device allowed digital images to be overlaid on reality, “augmenting” the experience.
Ohler loves the idea of augmented reality in education. He points to an example where a school got students to use augmented reality on their phones to compare their own artwork to the work of the professional artist. Students were able to see where their own work departed from the original in exquisite details, helping them further refine their artistic skills.
What was so good about the project, Ohler said, was that student engagement was much higher than it usually is. Kids really love it when they can use tech as part of the learning process, and it really got them interested in what they were doing.
We’ve seen how technology has allowed businesses to outsource many of their functions to third parties. Things like accounting, payroll, IT and security can all be done by separate firms. Now, though, the same level of outsourcing is coming to schools, according to sites such as https://www.Payschools.com/payschools-products. The idea behind these systems is to essentially get rid of all the legwork done by the hordes of administrators that work in most schools and have it done by computers instead. This way, schools will be able to spend more time teaching and less time worrying about whether they’ve sorted out all their paperwork.
Big data might be the holy grail of educational technology. For years, schools have been seen as backward because they teach to the average. They set a pace of learning suitable for the average student and then stick to it, year after year.
If you’re an average student, this is all well and good. But if you’re a high-flyer or not particularly academic then it;s a big problem. For the kids at the top of the class, school stymies their progress and holds them back. For kids at the bottom of the class, learning is too fast, they fall behind and become disheartened.
The fundamental problem has to do with the fact that there just aren’t enough teachers to give all children one-on-one tuition. Teachers are forced to teach to the average student because of the fact that classes contain a range of students with a range of abilities.
But according to Ohler, big data might be a solution. The cool thing about big data is that it can be used to identify bottlenecks in learning. Machines and software can then evaluate these bottlenecks and work out exactly where knowledge is lacking and how to help the student overcome a particular learning hurdle.
In the future, it may be possible for each student to interact with their own personal AI tutor. This tutor would collect data on their learning progress and tailor lessons according to their individual needs. AI would also be able to use student-generated data to figure out what exactly a student has understood and what they haven’t, ensuring that they can master a subject before moving on.
All these changes are undoubtedly going to be disruptive for the education sector according to http://www.edtechmagazine.com. The industry has to change how it operates because of the fact that the jobs of the future require an entirely different breed of individual to the jobs of yesterday. Education needs to be more flexible and fun.