How technology is changing education

Technology has impacted just about every aspect of life today. Education, of course, is no exception. Not only are vast amounts of information available online, but opportunities for formal learning are also available online. In fact, a 2017 University of Phoenix College of Education survey found that 63% of K-12 teachers use technology in the classroom daily.

Teachers use these technologies to not only improve communication and collaboration but also provide parents a way to stay connected with their child’s classroom.

Below we take a broader look at how technology has made its mark on education.

Technology encourages communication and collaboration

Traditionally, classrooms have been relatively isolated, and collaboration has been limited to classmates. Today, technology enables forms of communication and collaboration that allow students to share what they are learning with students in other classrooms and even states. With open collaboration, traditional classroom walls are no longer a barrier to heightened learning experiences.

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“Technology such as Cloud, AI, IoT, and mobile computing have made education more instant and personalized. It's also expanded borders and exposure through its ability to connect students across cities, states, and countries,” shared Juhi McClelland, General Manager of Global Technology Services at IBM.

“The evolutionary development of computing power and software, combined with communication technologies and the Internet, have revolutionized educational capabilities and expectations,” agreed Terry S. Latour, Dean of the University Library at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

When it comes to higher education, online classes have made a broad range of programs accessible to individuals who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to get the education they desired. Non-traditional students and adult learners with busy lives can now meet their once out-of-reach educational goals.

The use of game-changing technologies in education

Technologies like virtual reality have also changed how we approach education. When needed, like during the coronavirus outbreak, schools throughout the nation have transitioned to virtual teaching.

By leveraging technologies such as virtual reality, teachers can enhance student learning and engagement, truly transforming the way in which they deliver educational content. Through such an immersive experience, students can learn about a subject by experiencing it.

“Virtual reality gives you the chance to go back in time to experience historic events with your own eyes,” says Sander Tan, founder of E-Student. “Students who personally witness Napoleon conquering the world will remember the experience their whole life. On the other hand, students who only read about the event from a dusty schoolbook will soon forget about the finer details.”

Virtual reality isn’t the only high-tech tool educators are using. Teachers across the nation also use learning-management systems such as Moodle. This open-source learning platform provides educators and learners with a personalized learning environment they can access from school or home.

Changing the landscape for teachers and students

The use of new technologies has also changed the roles of teachers and learners. Schools across the country have redesigned learning spaces and curriculums in hopes of enabling new forms of education, fostering more interaction among students and encouraging small group work using a range of technical tools.

“For teachers, technology can give them better insight into a student's strengths and weaknesses while narrowing down on the type of learning environments in which students can thrive. Technology can also give teachers valuable time back that they can use to focus on their students,” shared Juhi McClelland.

For many students, technology has encouraged participation. Research shows the more students participate, the better their learning outcomes will be. With the use of technology, there are many more options for class participation. When students see they can communicate with their teacher and classmates easily, they are bound to participate more.

The opportunity for personalized education has also been on the rise thanks in part to technological advances. With technology, just about everything can be personalized. From assignments adapted to a student's needs and abilities to customized worksheets and tests, technology in education has allowed for seamless personalization.

“Learners thrive on doing work that's challenging but possible, and therefore rewarding when it clicks,” shared Brian Galvin, Chief Academic Officer at Varsity Tutors. “Adaptive technology makes that easy to accomplish, and even without using an adaptive algorithm just the ability to create customized worksheets and send a link is something tutors have easy access to whereas 10 years ago they'd be listing or circling an array of problem numbers that a student would have to flip around a book looking for.”

How technology is changing education for parents

One of the biggest complaints many parents have about school is feeling disconnected from what is happening in their child’s classroom. Fortunately, technology in the classroom provides parents with the opportunity to communicate with their child’s teacher, access information related to what their child is learning, and even download teaching materials that might be useful in late-night homework situations.

Not only has technology given parents an easy access to study materials from outside their child’s classroom, but the rise of third-party educational apps have also made it far easier for parents to provide their child with diverse learning experiences from the comfort of home.

“As a parent, I have engaged my daughter in building IoT sensors, websites, and using Blockchain to track planes flying over our home since she was in middle school. These are productive and educational hobbies that make technology fun and relevant,” explained Juhi McClelland. “Learning Python was not a chore, it was fun thanks to so many friendly and engaging options offered now.”

With many options for students, parents and teachers to engage with one another in and outside of the classroom, there’s no denying technology has come to be a powerful tool that can truly transform education in a myriad ways. With the global reach of the world wide web and the proliferation of smart devices connecting to it, the age of modern education has truly arrived.