By Dan Matthews
Image Source: Pexels
Modern advancements in technology and computer science have sparked some amazing societal advancements in the last decade. Among these many great leaps forward, the impact that new technologies have had on education is one of the most profound.
From providing easier access to information to accelerating aspects of the learning process—computer technologies are continually revolutionizing how students learn. This article will explore some examples of new educational technology in action, and provide some tips for teachers looking to integrate some of these advancements into their classrooms.
Providing Broader Access to Information and Learning
One of the side-effects of the ever-increasing integration of the Internet of Things into education is the wholesale expansion of access for students. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of modern hardware and telepresence software to connect even the most remote students with educators was clear, albeit still in the early stages of utilization.
Now, education-via-the-internet is an ever-present reality. At minimum, most schools currently offer a blended learning framework that allows for some time to be spent learning remotely. There are, however, a fair share of schools that have gone fully remote. In both cases, the capacity for telepresence to grant a greater number of students access to learning outside of school hours helps accelerate their rate of learning.
“Access” doesn’t just refer to linking students with educators, mind you. It also encompasses troves of remotely accessible educational resources that are freely available in the public domain. Vast digital libraries, recorded lectures, podcasts, and similar digital education resources create an infrastructure that allows students to absorb knowledge in a manner that is more accommodating to their schedules.
Creating Advancements in Personalized Learning
Speaking of individuality, advancements in computer software and artificial intelligence have made the personalization of education a more practical reality. Also known as “differentiated instruction,” the act of fine-tuning teaching methodology to individual needs allows educators to more readily identify gaps in student knowledge and take the necessary measures to fill said gaps. At the same time, it’s an amazing tool for making coursework more engaging.
Perhaps the greatest revolution in personalized learning has been the development of computer-adaptive teaching technologies. The combination of AI with computer algorithms allows for software products that augment educators’ ability to track and account for the individual needs of various students, as everything about those students, their characteristics, and their points of frustration is now accessible from one platform.
At the same time, leaps in the quality and reliability of telepresence technologies have enabled an increase in the practicality of live, one-on-one tutoring. This is an important supplement to the idea of personalized instruction, and, combined, these factors are enabling students to better understand challenging material in ways that work for them.
Making Content More Engaging
Increased engagement doesn’t just come from personalized learning measures (though they are a central component to improving engagement). Supplemental technologies — like interactive video lessons and gamified learning experiences — serve to make educational content more engaging for students, which in turn makes it easier for them to absorb.
Consider educational software applications, which incorporate subtle forms of psychological encouragement to motivate students to perform. Leaderboards, rewards, level-ups, and the like all serve as a push to make students want to absorb educational content, which in turn can improve their comprehension and willingness to tough out challenging material.
In a similar vein, when presented with content through a new lens, as is the case with pre-recorded lessons and video tutorials, learners enjoy the benefit of educational content that they may grasp more readily than via a book or in-person lecture. Digital video also allows for learners to self-direct by focusing on topics that they may need to give additional attention to while doing so at a pace that works best for their learning styles.
Creating Inclusive Environments
Not all students have the same capabilities, and some even have disabilities that, in the past, may have greatly hampered their ability to participate in the classroom. Now, a whole range of assistive technologies exists to help improve the inclusivity of educational environments.
Digital mathematics tools, for instance, are part of the long list of technologies that have been shown to boost the abilities and confidence of child learners with ADHD. Along with other computer/software solutions—such as speech recognition software, automated reminders, and the like—populations that have traditionally been at a disadvantage can now participate on near-equal footing with their non-disabled peers.
Technological advancements have translated directly to improvement in educational outcomes for a great number of students. It’s no surprise, then, that many schools have expressed a desire to incorporate new equipment and processes into their current educational framework.
Despite this, not every institution is prepared to make the transition to new technologies, as they may lack the professional staff necessary to begin transitioning. What’s more, those at the heads of some school hierarchies may still be hesitant to make changes to the status quo.
Educators looking to modernize their programs should, in addition to marveling at the potential of these new tools, have to be sure to take into account some of the challenges that come with integrating new technologies and prepare to overcome them to see their goals of a better classroom realized.
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