How Has Technology Changed Education?
From tablets to smartphones, and everything in between, technology has impacted our lives more than we realize. Kids are growing up reliant on technology, cringing at a time their parents had to survive without a cell phone. Remember the days before GPS, when we had to ask for directions or check a map? Or even before that, when we used an abacus to do sums instead of a calculator? Technology has rapidly evolved, helping us to perform tasks quicker and more efficiently, and has given us access to a whole wealth of information.
Education is no exception. Over the past few years, the education sector has transformed and embraced technology, shifting towards cloud-based platforms and educational software. Although technology cannot do the work for students just yet, we find ourselves at the beginning of a wave of innovation in education. Technology is a helpful learning aid that can improve the consistency and quality of education. Furthermore, education technology makes the classroom a more appealing environment and can nurture problem-solving skills and curiosity.
Covid-19 triggered digital education
Since Covid-19 swept the world in 2020, remote learning, working from home, and endless online meetings have become the norm. At the start of the pandemic, company bosses and educational leaders scrambled to find a way to provide a relatively normal school and work life while respecting strict lockdown rules. Schools in over 180 countries could no longer provide in-person learning, but education technology provided the answers. Remote learning became the solution to an otherwise difficult problem and, although around 1.6 billion kids worldwide were out of school, they could still contribute in class and maintain their education.
How is technology changing education in a post-Covid world?
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of technology in education, but digital education appears to be here for good. As we enter the post-pandemic era, it is apparent that technology now leads the way and has replaced some more traditional aspects of education. Education industry leaders have realized that technology and education go hand-in-hand and are using virtual classrooms, videos, and augmented reality to assist classroom learning. Just like packing a soup or stew full of vegetables is a great way to sneak in extra nutrients, educational technologies make learning fun in a way that does not feel like learning. Tech-savvy kids are versatile and love to get their hands on and explore new technologies, cultivating a sense of curiosity for their growing minds.
Benefits of technology in the classroom
Technology in education is here to stay. As digital learning becomes fully integrated into our everyday lives, it is important to be mindful of the benefits of technology in the classroom.
1) Education technology helps teachers
School technology does not just benefit students — it makes life easier for teachers, too. There are many teacher-friendly materials online, helping teachers use technology to write and improve lesson plans or share ideas with other teachers. Furthermore, teachers can organize and store important information in one place using a cloud platform, so they can access test scores or previous class information at the touch of a button.
2) Boosts classroom motivation
Every teacher has experienced a class full of quiet, unmotivated students. Nothing is more frustrating for teachers than asking questions and getting blank looks and crickets in return. Using technology to access thousands of digital materials like videos and online games enhances classroom learning and motivates students to join in. Joint problem-solving motivates students to pull their weight in group work and allows them to share ideas quickly and conveniently. Using technology, teachers can collaborate with students individually, giving them the space to ask questions and clarify misunderstandings.
3) Improves problem-solving skills
Technology is not just mindlessly scrolling through videos and photos — it is a fantastic way to enrich classroom learning and entice critical thinking and problem-solving. Educational technologies have different aims and can engage multiple thought processes and physical senses to improve students’ appetite for learning. Far from a dull environment in which children are seen and not heard, digital learning transforms classrooms into interactive workspaces that promote collaboration and group learning. Technology impacts critical thinking and allows them to apply educational content to real-life situations, creating well-rounded individuals ready to take on the world.
How do students and teachers adapt to fast-growing ed tech?
Whether we were ready or not, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to embrace technology like never before. Students and teachers must find ways to keep up with rapidly growing educational software and learning tools. Kids are known for their adaptability and love of technology, but teachers may resist change and fear digital learning methods. Schools should provide adequate training courses and materials to help teachers overcome any resistance to technology and provide a non-judgmental environment for them to ask questions and express concerns.
Moreover, technology evolves so fast that it can be overwhelming to decide which materials to purchase. After all, buying new technology is expensive and requires regular updates and maintenance. Schools should evaluate their learning aims and invest in technology that promotes their educational purpose and provides the best learning experience possible.
What are some predicted future trends in ed tech?
Technology continues to evolve as we become more tech-savvy. Here are some predicted ed tech trends to watch out for in the near future.
From hide and seek to tic-tac-toe, there is no question that kids love playing games. Games can transform a bland classroom environment into an exciting battle of strategy and skill. The gamification of education uses video games to make traditional games more interactive for students. It improves concentration and teamwork through immersive plots and storylines for children to follow. The global educational gamification market is in its early stages, and is expected to reach USD $30.7 billion by 2025, highlighting the popularity of this technology in digital education.
Kids have a notoriously short attention span, only reaching over 30 minutes by ages 11-12. If it seems as though students lose concentration quickly it may be because they are in a state of information overload relative to their concentration ability. In addition, videos are getting shorter and shorter, and as a result, our tolerance for long video content is waning. That is where microlearning comes in. Short videos that are under 10 minutes long are now the norm, giving viewers a short burst of educational content in an easily digestible format.
3) Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is taking the education industry by storm. AI-backed technology can adapt to each learner’s individual level, giving them personalized educational content that fits their needs. Language learning apps encourage learners to improve daily and get increasingly difficult based on performance. This personalized learning style motivates students as the content is challenging but never too difficult, which allows them to retain focus and keep up in class.
Technology has drastically changed education, and the Covid-19 pandemic catapulted us into a world of digital learning. Online classes have become the norm, and parents expect schools to offer a certain degree of educational technology. Kids love to play with new technology and are fascinated by problem-solving software that allows them to express themselves and improve their thinking skills. Students thrive when learning does not feel like learning, and technology lets them excel in the classroom. As a result, schools should keep up with the latest ed tech trends. However, not everybody was brought up with technology and adapting to new learning methods can take time. Schools should provide adequate training days and a safe space for anxious teachers to express concerns. Furthermore, technology can experience technical issues and breakdowns, so teachers must be more adaptable than ever.
Jeni is a translator and writer based in Taiwan. She is passionate about business development and loves helping companies enter international markets. She is fluent in English, German, and Mandarin Chinese, and combines these with her industry experience to provide practical market entry solutions.