Technology in education has come a long way since the invention of the humble abacus. Digital technology has redefined the educational landscape and new innovations are constantly being introduced.
Before a new tool can even be mastered or exhausted, an improved or different innovation comes along to steal the show. One thing is for sure, educational technology is now highly developed and there are more tools available to educators and students than ever before.
However, there are a couple of technologies that have made it into education that seem to have replaced older tech. With the replacement of older tech, new teaching and learning methodologies have also been developed.
Although this is not a new technology per se, it is a whole new way of obtaining an education that was previously unimaginable. The internet, together with some help from UNESCO, popularized free education on a mass scale.
If you don’t know what a MOOC is just yet, you need only do a simple Google search and find that there are hundreds of institutions that develop and release courses for the masses. The learning is all online based and you need only a stable internet connection to get going.
For centuries, education was only available to the privileged few. However, many countries were left behind and never received proper education. Open Educational Resources (OERs) were developed and the aim was to make education available to the whole world free of charge.
The standard textbook, in many cases, has been replaced by a free alternative. However, when time is of the essence, there are variety of essay writing services that can produce custom content,ranging from a technical article to a research paper, at a whim.
Many institutions have started to utilize OERs to supplement their course material, seeing that it is free and, depending on the creative commons license, can be altered in any way The people who could previously not afford an education, or educational materials now have access to thousands of repositories with countless resources to choose from.
Coding and robotics
Coding was first introduced in education in the 1980s by Seymore Papert. LOGO was the first coding language to be used and it involved moving a frog in various directions. We have come a long way since then and giving a little from a couple of instructions have evolved in giving robots instructions.
The theory around coding and robotics is that it provides the students with countless opportunities to solve problems and be creative. Education and technology go hand in hand so our next generation of students will have to solve problems that don’t exist today and train for jobs that don’t exist just yet. Coding and robotics is key to developing those skills.
Laptops and tablets
Laptops and have become commonplace in schools and colleges. The capabilities of the machines enable the students to do immeasurably more than a couple of generations ago.
Textbooks and notes are kept on a single device and while the device is used to make notes and do research, it also serves a collaborating tool. Nowadays, connectivity is as important as a notepad was in the ’90s. The millennial student is a digital native and they have developed networking skills beyond that of the generations before them.
Social networking is the most innovative technology we have experienced in the past decade. It has taken over the world, there is even a saying that says that if it’s not on Facebook, it’s not official. However, social networking has gone beyond the realm of recreation and entered the educational world.
Students find great value in being able to communicate with their peers and educators have caught on. Social networking has successfully been used as a means for students to collaborate and solve problems by discussing the problems with peers.
Digital communication has enabled students to disregard the barriers of distance and time and autonomous learning is commonplace among many students across the world.
Simulation and modeling
Seeing that the world is evolving and changing at a rapid rate, learners have to be able to adapt and change to various conditions. Simulations and modeling have been used to mimic what students can expect when they leave school or college. These simulations have also been incorporated in education to teach problems solving skills.
This technology has helped to bring the real world into the classroom and provide students with authentic situations and also to see how various factors can influence a particular simulation. Static models are a thing of the past and learners can now see how systems are influenced in real time.
Technology in education is here to stay and even though many traditionalists don’t want to embrace digital technology.
New innovations seem to pop up faster and faster and trying to keep up with the pace is a near impossible task. However, every now and then, an innovation comes along that seems to stick and it is becoming ever more important to determine what those innovations are and tap the most out of them.
Elizabeth Skinner is a technology expert who worked at senior positions in top companies for 20+ years before retiring to start working as a consultant. Currently she is working for a couple of well-known online courses company helping them automate their process 360-degress. When technology is not on her mind, she relaxes by the pool, reading fiction and enjoying horse-riding on weekends.