Technology continues to cause massive changes to learning environments.
EdTech has transformed everything from teacher-student interactions to assistive technologies. And some of the most exciting trends in education technology are making personalized learning possible. As tech and IT costs fall, more schools are investing in these cutting-edge technologies to help their students succeed. Here are seven EdTech trends you need to know about for 2019.
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is trending in education because it helps teachers identify personalized approaches to instruction. Since AI can “learn” from student inputs on digital tests, quizzes, and worksheets, it can test areas of mastery and weakness. It can then adjust the content and presentation to accommodate those needs. These tasks are common for any instructor, but they’re also time-consuming. Automating these tasks can free up time for teachers to focus on guiding students to their educational goals.
For example, Thinkster Math is a tutoring program that uses machine learning to create personalized learning programs in math. The AI presents math problems and tracks how the student got their answer. The program looks for areas of misunderstanding and places where students have missed steps in their problem-solving. Then it makes suggestions based on that data. The process corrects the student within the context of solving the problem — the most valuable teaching moment. The AI can deliver useful feedback that’s customized for the individual student.
2. Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have massive implications for educational instruction and student engagement. Artificial reality brings students to quasi-realistic settings where feedback is instant. As prices continue to drop for AR/VR equipment, schools can invest more in “immersive learning” approaches.
AR has already made its way into the classroom via supplementary textbook materials that add extra dimensions to lesson plans. Students can use tablets and smartphones to access 3D models of dinosaurs and flashcards that interact with their textbooks. These innovations literally bring subjects to life and engage students on a much higher cognitive level than traditional classroom lectures.
3. Game-Based Learning
Games have always been an integral part of learning, but the growth in EdTech and electronic devices in the classroom will drive the popularity of game-based learning. This playful pedagogy uses repetition and goal setting to improve comprehension and retention. Like video games themselves, students move from one level to the next, gaining skills as they go. The key is to create learning challenges easy enough to “win,” but challenging enough to promote learning.
Game-based learning is highly motivating, immersive, and encourages students to learn by doing. Because students are already familiar with games, educational apps that use these approaches will become more critical to personalized and blended learning strategies.
4. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is already bringing low-cost data storage, software hosting, and connectivity to the business world, and educators are now seeing its benefits for education. Cloud computing broadens where and when students and teachers can access homework. With documents, assignments, and lesson plans stored in the cloud, students can take tests or do homework anywhere there’s an internet connection. Students can access assignments from home during free time, vacation, or during an illness. And teachers can access assignments outside of school settings.
Schools are adopting cloud-based services to relieve students of heavy textbooks and the need for locker storage. And digital libraries are replacing physical ones, saving resources and space. Cloud-hosting software can also save schools IT resources since software is managed and delivered over the internet. No need for server rooms, IT tech, and equipment.
5. Move to Mobile
The move to mobile EdTech is beginning in higher education where almost every student has a smartphone. Like cloud-based computing, mobile’s advantage for education is making learning and resources accessible anywhere, anytime. Another benefit mobile brings is that students can interface with their instructors, institutions, and groups using devices they’re already familiar with.
Schools moving to mobile can also benefit from "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) strategies — a growing trend among high school and post-secondary education. Teachers can choose from a variety of BYOD learning apps for note taking and collaborative writing projects. And students can work from devices they know how to use.
6. Online Social Networking & Learning
While social networks and education seem at cross-purposes, schools are starting to use social networks for collaborative learning opportunities. Social networking for education takes collaboration outside the classroom walls. Like mobile devices, social collaboration online gives students opportunities to learn from each other: anywhere, anytime. Collaborative learning promotes diversity perspectives, peer learning, raises confidence, and improves engagement.
Educational social media platforms like Twiducate let teachers communicate assignment due dates, provide links to resources, and disseminate other useful information. Therefore, social media solves a practical problem for teachers. But it also has the potential to support learning — by offering more opportunities for discussion, asking questions, and challenging ideas.
7. Online Learning and MOOCs
Online learning is more popular than ever both in education and business settings. Massive open online courses (or MOOCs) like Udemy or Khan Academy offer cost-effective ways for institutions to supplement their curriculum. Colleges and universities are moving into the MOOC space too, offering online courses on sites like EdX. The entrance of MIT and Harvard into these educational spaces is helping with certification and standardization — two problems that have plagued online learning for years.
Authored by Brandon Jarman, a freelance journalist who mostly covers education and technology. When he's not writing, he enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors. You can keep up with his work by following him on Twitter @BrandonJarman4
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