Some may think 2020 is the year of educational technology. When COVID-19 forced schools to go remote, students and educators became more dependent on technology than ever before. The transition to this whole new learning environment also presented new realisations on the state of technology in education.
It’s amazing that institutions have been able to continue to teach even when in-person instructions were stopped. Also, many families have understood that there’s a sea of online resources for their children that can offer engaging and interesting lessons tailored directly to them.
Now, an important question that needs addressing is, how can we utilize the best of educational technology to improve the learning process in the post-pandemic era? There are a few considerations that need to be remembered in the process. Let’s delve into them one by one.
- Increasing use of learning management systems
Learning management systems (LMS) allows teachers to provide lessons, share reading materials, and check assignments. These platforms can simplify much of the work for teachers by integrating a number of features on one platform, including the tools needed to run a virtual or hybrid classroom, as well as tracking the progress of the student and connecting with parents.
For instance, Google’s LMS platform, Google Classroom, saw the user base double from March 2020 into April. The tech giant also began offering schools free access to advanced features of its Hangouts Meet app during the pandemic. Additionally, it donated 4,000 Chromebook laptops and pledged free access to 100,000 households in the US. Microsoft has also invested in the space.
- AI allows data-driven decisions to increase efficiency and save costs
The education industry is expanding with applications of artificial intelligence (AI). Some institutions are adopting AI to help customise the learning process, teach languages, improve memory retention, or increase accessibility to lessons.
AI can also turn out to be beneficial for students in overcoming language barriers in education. For instance, Microsoft’s Presentation Translator is an AI tool that offers real-time subtitles for presentations and lectures. Students can read or hear these in their native language.
Edtech organisations using AI are not only translating lessons in real time but are also trying to assist students with learning languages. Other than learning, AI chatbots can double up as a teacher’s virtual assistant, providing assistance by answering frequently asked questions for students, offering feedback to students, and presenting additional learning materials depending on a student’s individual progress.
- Gamification uses game elements to make learning interactive
Gamification in education helps with learners’ motivation and engagement by incorporating game design elements like problem-solving, storytelling, levels, badges, and points in educational environments.
Gamification enables students to receive instant feedback through the use of dashboards that can show how students rank among their peers. This promotes a spirit of healthy competition among students and encourages them to complete accounting assignments to the best of their abilities.
Teachers can pair students in groups and encourage them to collaborate with each other through various games. This also allows teamwork among students, which is a necessary skill when they want to progress in their academic career.
- Smart campus tech utilities devices and data for a connected experience
A smart campus is a digitally connected space where devices and data come together to provide a more intuitive learning experience to students. Smart campuses can result in major cost savings for an educational institution. For instance, buildings enabled with intelligent sensors can detect whether the building is in use and adjust its power distribution accordingly.
However, allowing a seamless operation of multiple connected devices across campus requires immense technological preparation and planning on the part of the educational institution.
Institutions must check their existing networks and upgrade them as required. This will ensure the network can handle a wide range of devices, including cameras, sensors, student devices, and more. These institutions also need to ensure that their networks are able to withstand and assess the vast amounts of data that smart campuses generate.
- Reign of the MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are also witnessing popularity as a means of gaining higher education. Adult learners are turning to these courses available to anyone with digital access to fortify their skills or learn new ones to pivot careers.
MOOC platform Udemy reported a sharp increase in enrollments from February to March 2020. The most in-demand courses on the platform are professional skills (like technical drawing, Adobe illustrator). During the period of March-May 2020, the edtech startup saw its sales double year-over-year.
Coursera, for example, provides classes ranging from business foundations to data science. These are offered in association with various universities and also tech giants like Google, which offers Career Certificates through this platform.
- VR and AR brings learning to life
Virtual reality (VR) presents an immersive 3D environment that users can easily explore. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, superimposes digital elements like sound, visuals, and text onto a user’s surroundings. Both technologies can be adopted individually — or together — across the learning landscape.
VR can be used to enhance students’ engagement and learning by allowing them to interact directly with the materials. VR can also be useful for students with learning difficulties like autism. There are various studies that highlight how children with autism could effectively apply skills they had learned in a virtual environment. AR technology has similar applications across the education sector.
- The prominence of after-school assistance and tutoring
Multiple online platforms offer education that serves as a supplement to learning in schools and universities. A number of these after-school learning programs made their services free during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure continuous learning for students. These platforms can also let students receive extra help or explore areas that they are curious about.
An example of such platforms is unicorn Course Hero, which raised $70M in Series B funding in 2020 and claimed an annual run-rate revenue of around $100M. The organization provides a Q&A platform for students and space for teachers to incorporate course-specific material.
Wrapping it up,
It’s true that the education sector still faces considerable barriers to the increased adoption of technology. These barriers include lack of specific talent to operate infrastructure, privacy concerns, and the inability of many institutions to invest in building out networks. But as we look to a post-pandemic future, we’ll likely witness increased acceptance of technology in learning, particularly in hybrid formats that bring classroom learning and technology together.
Author bio: Suhana is a passionate blogger and digital marketing enthusiast. Suhana Williams is one of the most talented assignment experts who also provide java assignment help through Myassignmenthelp. She enjoys the ever-evolving world of digital marketing and loves to share her opinion on every possible update with her audience. When not creating magic with her words, you can find her sky-diving or trekking in the most bizarre locations.