In 2008, 139 million smartphones were sold, compared with over 2 billion in 2018. This may be a good indication of how a personal computer in our pocket has changed the way we communicate and live our lives. Some of the global elections are launched on Twitter, we vent on social media and we’re generally as attached to a mobile, as we are our family and friends. Hold that thought!
Technology is becoming more advanced each day. Looking around most households it’s clear that there are several tablets, smartphones, laptops, smartspeakers, advanced lighting dimmers; the list goes on. We’re adapting in terms of where and when to use it, and equally; switch off from it. Or are we?
Take yourself into a classroom or training environment and you’ll pretty much have the same experience. The world of education is in demand of remodelling its approach due to the increase in the rapid speed of technology advancement. It’s very apparent that some countries are applying the more enhanced capabilities as the digital era is sweeping through our classrooms and learning environments. We are witnessing a very profound shift in how we adapt and enhance our education system on many levels.
The role of a teacher is something that questionably requires huge adaptability skills from the last decade’s approach with the new technologies; such as AI and machine learning. Educational software is disrupting the role of the Educator as well as the students learning. The classroom is becoming a different environment with some significant shifts in a more philosophical approach to teaching and morphing of ‘how we teach’ in a less conventional style.
Are we in danger of losing the human touch?
The future of learning curriculum will still require both Educators and students to improve their competency of using technology and understand when we use it. Some experts show concern around how much technology we use and when the teacher steps in. Some of the technology resources are surprisingly supportive of the standard and conventional teaching methods. In fact, they enhance the learning success. Virtual reality is an exceptional resource to use when requiring a visual example, as it provides an easy way to find educational resources that will transport learners to a visual experience. VR helps to contextualise concepts and meaning. Some classrooms explore 360 degree images and videos through a few simple clicks thus building on the theory of a lesson and engaging the students more.
Some of the UK’s universities and even schools offer their students a huge range of pedagogically sound, engaging content along with structured lesson plans to help spark the imagination and focus on specific areas. There are many advantages to this type of learning, one being the creation of a visual memory and experiences that help visualise and understand even the most complex of educational subjects. Any educational professional will explain that creating a memory initiates knowledge retention and context.
Dependent on what type of education we explore, some creative studies or mathematical courses are using augmented reality which in summary brings educational content to life. AR allows students to view and interact with exciting 3D models providing greater engagement, understanding and ultimately enabling the retention of knowledge and speed to competency. This type of approach is supportive of students with ADHD and different forms of autism as those learners depend of visual representation. Research shows that globally we’re already using more and more alternative technologies to support difficult subjects.
Software used in practice
DreamBox is very popular software and adapts to different student’s skill levels. The DreamBox software adapts according to the learner’s competency speed and works on a ‘best suited’ pace of learning. The research shows that the student gains clarity and measured learning that creates a more robust pass rate outcome. It’s well known that over 70% of our population learn from the undertaking of activities to cement their self-validation and until the human brain achieves its own “Eureka” moment, then we continue to feel incomplete in our knowledge validation. Technology could help combat that exact gap of self-validation and help create a more ‘looked after’ nation of educated students.
If you think of a conventional learning environment, you’d picture a teacher, whiteboard and students pretending to listen attentively, where a teacher is expected to gauge their students learning competency as a solo individual. If we consider a blend of human and advanced technology, were putting our students into a more measured and engaging experience. The additional benefit of blending technology with teachers could be conducive to supporting student’s low self -esteem. Thanks to technology in education, we’re now able to analyse IPPR study figures from the higher education statistics, collating both quantitative data and allowing qualitative analysis to gauge the progress of students.
This is a real time opportunity and is an important part of the education system’s responsibilities, from the rise of mental health and suicides in all age groups. It’s a delicate subject and it needs addressing.
Tech supporting student well-being
If technology helps support well-being within the educational environment, then so be it. There are several meditation apps being promoted within education to enable our digital generations to switch off from their laptops, smartphone use and general heightened sensitivity to feeling lost without our mobile. As contradictory as this could be; it works. A school in Baltimore gives meditation as opposed to detention to help the students change their state of mind. That’s innovation! Their parents are now more self-aware and encourage switching off devices and using technology in the right way. It’s great to be in control of how we use technology and if we’re more intelligent in education we can remain blended in our approach and use it for the right reasons.
Learning software has adapted so much that its replacing the standard textbooks, therefore you could say that technology enhances the learner experience and is more bespoke. In simplicity, we will soon have tailor-made computer programs that assist in supporting all learners pass rate success from technological intelligence to give the student the best experience.
Or will it?
Whilst some of the UK’s older generations are sceptical of the advancements in technology, there are parents and teachers that openly admit that they have tough demands in keeping up with the new world. Technology is removing the practical element of math calculations and its apparent that the different types of knowledge students now require are somewhat different to just ten years ago.
The new classroom model may become less interactive, focusing towards self-learning methods of educating. Whilst some of our educational models concentrate on providing students with the requisite skills to turn them into skilled workers through a more practical application, this may be something that will dramatically change.
Humans are curious souls, and this brings many questions around the impact of using AI and virtual intelligence within education and development within organisations.
It’s interesting to wonder if we have an opportunity to create a positive understanding of how technology can enhance the learner and student experience, as many studies show that under 35’s have a more relative understanding of our technological advancements.
When we pick up magazines or make educational research we’re greeted with phrases like ‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ which proves to be quite futuristic and intimidating for some learners, or even educators. Both business and teachers have the same challenges with personal software, machine learning and AI. If we take into consideration the corporate world, there are immediate opportunities for the workforce to be re-educated with the use of self-learning software to prevent the overkill of information overload.
Businesses learning from educational tech
Very much like the education system, most businesses process and handle large amounts of documents and we need an intervention to minimise stress and well-being. In the world of business, there’s more immediate potential for self-learning software education.
The CEO of Silicone schools; Brian Greenberg, states that the real purpose of education is for the brain to be empowered with information. Greenberg describes the following sentiments. “We’re teaching students to learn to think, to learn to learn, and to critically assess a situation”. There is no proof that any one specific technology is improving education yet, and we’re all curious about what the future holds. Whilst we question advancement of technology removing the human touch, its very clear that technology isn’t there to undermine the teacher’s role.
Both technology and humans can elevate the learning. If we think about how we can utilise data, enabling the tracking of individuals progress. We’re in a good place if we can be provided with increased insight into how students and learners are struggling, thus acknowledging opportunities to support specific development needs. “Technology is important, but it’s really just the means to an end,” Greenberg said. “The real magic is in giving great educators freedom and license into how school works.”
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