Technology has changed the way we look at the world around us. With various path-breaking technologies emerging every year, we are observing massive changes in different spheres, education being no exception. Over the years, various schools have started using technological tools to enhance the learning experience for students.
The use of the Internet is becoming ever more important in allowing everybody to wholly participate in society. Whether it is to acquire new skills or connect with distant as well as near friends and family, children’s opportunities increasingly depend on the Internet.
It’s clear that technology is here to stay and the world is becoming only more digitally driven and kids and technology have become inseparable. Keeping up with the emerging technology trends can have a major impact on the way education is being imparted in schools today. It will help offer students with latest opportunities and unique learning experiences that they need and deserve.
Kids and Technology
What exactly are the educational technology trends that have been making major waves in recent years? Here’s a list of the 7 technology trends in the current environment that kids should not miss out on!
1. Digital Books
A digital book commonly referred to as an electronic book (e-book) is a digital publication that can consist of text, images, or a combination of both. An electronic book can be read on a proprietary digital device (an e-reader) or on a computer, which requires special software.
The aim of eBooks is to simplify and enhance the overall learning experience. Digital Books make the learning process more interactive and engaging. Instead of listening to one person continuously talking, students can now actively participate in the learning process.
Integrating eBooks into classroom teaching makes learning fun and engaging experience. Gone are the days when students had to carry a bag full of books every day to classrooms and back home.
With eBooks entering the educational domain, one device is enough to include the entire year’s syllabus. These digital books can be introduced to students at a very young age, right from kindergarten to university level, ensuring that learning never becomes boring for them.
An effective learning system must ensure that students are actively involved in the learning process. eBooks have brought about an educational reform that helps students to learn better and faster.
Listed below are some of the benefits of introducing eBooks in education:
Study Anywhere and Anytime: An eBook is easy to carry around. Instead of carrying a bag full of books, it is easier to carry a mobile device that supports eBooks. Most students these days always carry a mobile-based device. It could be a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop. The portability of an eBook allows students to refer to their notes and course materials anytime they want. Instead of carrying multiple books, students can now have everything in one place.
Offline Access to eBooks: Over 50% of the world’s population has access to the Internet. Yet we all sometimes have trouble with connectivity and network issues. In order to ensure that the Internet connection does not hamper the learning process mobile devices, these days, offer offline services. Students can now download any content they want and save it on their device and go through them later at their convenience.
Multiple Interactive Features: eBooks are not just plain reading materials, they have all the right tools to help students make notes and highlight content. eBook reading devices have a lot of interactive features, like annotations, pen tools, page zoom, search option, read aloud, etc. The search tool is the most favored tool because of its ability to find words and topics in an instant.
The search tool avoids the time-consuming process of turning pages after pages to find a particular topic or phrase. They can bookmark pages and chapters. The online dictionary helps them to quickly find the meanings of words. Besides, the user can also change the font size and style and adjust the brightness of the device as per what suits their eyes. An eBook is an all-in-one device that provides a wholesome learning experience to students.
Edutainment Value: The course content doesn’t have to be only text. You can include music, animations, videos, and audio explanations in the learning module. Videos make the learning process more interesting. Students can pause and rewind the video and watch it again.
Animations are fun and entertaining and have more retention value. Watching video content aids in retaining information far better than reading the same stuff. Videos and animations add an entertainment value while being informative at the same time. It helps improve their ability to learn and recollect information.
Save Printing Costs: eBooks do not require paper. Authors can submit their work in a PDF format, which can be converted into electronic books. Paper does not come into the picture. So, it saves all your printing-related costs, right from purchasing printing paper, designing the layouts and hardcover, etc. It even saves the environment by eliminating the need for printing.
Millions of trees are cut down each year to produce paper. Add to that the transportation costs, paper making costs, and all the carbon footprint it leaves behind. All this can be avoided if you switch to eBooks. This is also the reason why eBooks in education can be the best alternative to its counterpart printed books.
Provide Updated Content to Students: In traditional paperback books, if there’s some updated information that needs to be included in the syllabus, you’d probably have to reprint new books. But with eBooks, all the learning material is stored in the cloud. This means, eBooks can be updated anytime you want, and they will be reflected in all eBooks. So, you can always ensure that your students have up-to-date information with them at all times. This again saves your reprinting costs.
Interactive Assessments: eBooks include self-assessments for students to test their knowledge. It does away with the traditional style of giving a quiz at the end of the chapter. eBooks are embedded with quizzes and exercises throughout the chapter and also after the chapter ends, to ensure that students retain the information that they are reading.
It helps measure whether the student has understood the concepts properly. eBook assessments can provide instant results, so students can immediately view the test results. Not just students, the teacher can also view test results and provide immediate feedback.
2. Multi-Sensory Classrooms
A multisensory learning approach is a term many schools use to describe teaching methods that involve engaging more than one sense at a time. Involving the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways, a multisensory approach can enhance memory and the ability to learn.
This can also include taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing, and movement. The students are able to experience a lesson through multiple pathways that can best stimulate their brains and engage them more deeply in the subject matter.
The multi-sensory learning environment for each topic begins by asking these three simple questions during each lesson.
- What can you hear?
- What can you see?
- What can you do?
Reinforcing the auditory and visual elements of learning is an important aspect of maximizing understanding. Using color is an effective way to reinforce visual learning. Employing black and white symbols and images as an image is worth a thousand words. Also use large fonts, bold headings, bulleted lists, and plenty of white space.
The multi-Sensory learning approach has the following advantages:
- Improves memory by providing redundancy, reinforcement, and using the whole brain. Multisensory exposure can result in better recognition.
- Works for all kinds of learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
- Reduces cognitive load and promotes dual coding – more information is processed if split into and presented by several channels
- New multisensory associations in the brain can develop rapidly. Even alters responses in unisensory areas of the brain.
- Neural plasticity – The brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new connections throughout life – is highly enhanced, especially if the multisensory learning starts early in the child’s life.
- Increases concentration and focus
- Develops critical thinking – a sense of cause and effect
- Promotes mental and physical relaxation. Stress drops dramatically
- Increases opportunity for choice and self-determination and improves communication and sharing
3. Remote Learning
Remote learning is the process of teaching and learning performed at a distance. Rather than having students and teachers coming together in person, remote learning means that students are distanced from their teacher and their peers. The most effective remote learning attempts to mirror the classroom environment virtually, as much as that’s possible when the student and teacher are in two different places.
Technically, no technology is required for remote learning to take place, nor does remote learning have to take place online. Remote learning has played an important role in the recent past during the pandemic helping students and teachers alike to continue the learning process.
Remote learning is advantageous to students, teachers, and parents as well. Following are the benefits of remote learning:
Benefits for students
No worry about homework materials: With work and resources digitized, students will always have access to everything they need, which means they won’t have to lug heavy backpacks around quite as much. Having everything available on online platforms will help keep them organized. And as a bonus, they’ll be able to learn how to navigate these resources on their own.
Reduce anxiety: Nowadays many students suffer from a social anxiety disorder, or SAD. A lot of these cases start around the time a child is 13. By chatting through text and video, students may be able to feel more confident in their interactions and perform better in their studies.
Flexible scheduling opportunities: Some kids are involved in some other activities and sometimes they need time for family and social occasions. However, they still need to make sure they finish school. With distance learning, being able to balance both is a little easier. While education is important, every family’s financial situation is different, and distance learning helps to accommodate that reality.
Stay healthy and keep others safe: The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distance as a way of protecting public health. With distance learning, children can stay home when sick without missing out on too many lessons. Not only is this a more comfortable way to learn when they’re under the weather, but it also shows the teacher that you value the well-being of the entire class
Accessible to everyone: Though the world continues to make strides, there are unfortunately still places that aren’t accessible to everyone. Those with restricted mobility can suffer the most from this. Adding remote learning to your education system opens up new doors for those who need that kind of assistance. Allowing students to learn where they are comfortable also reduces missed lessons and contributes to better learning.
Allow for self-paced learning: Offering students the chance to learn at their own pace comes with many advantages. There are no restrictions set forth by classmates either, and they don’t have to worry about feeling like a know-it-all in front of others. Because remote learning is self-paced, students can review the material as often as needed and advance past already known subjects.
Benefits for teachers and parents
No need to commute: Distance learning and remote education have one big thing in common — there’s no commute. That means you save on gas money and also don’t have to constantly worry about a school bus arriving on time. And if you’re typically responsible for transportation, it’s almost like you’ve been granted extra time in your day.
Better management of time: If you had an opposite work schedule from your child’s school schedule, this arrangement frees both of you up a little more. Sometimes, it’s a nice break to have a different daytime structure.
Parents can get to know their child’s classmates: If your child has a very wide friend group, you might not have been able to meet them all just yet. But if you get to casually sit in on a digital study session, you’ll be more aware of what’s going on in your child’s social life.
Parents can check in and see what their kids are learning about: Some children can be very chatty about their school day. Others, not so much. By being able to listen in on particular lectures, parents can turn the information learned into meaningful conversations, furthering their learning experience. It’s important for parents to show interest in their child’s education.
4. Interactive Gamification
Gamification is the integration of game elements like point systems, leaderboards, badges, or other elements related to games into “conventional” learning activities in order to increase engagement and motivation. For example, an online discussion forum for a Physics course might be gamified via a badge system: students might be awarded a “Ptolemy” badge after they have made 10 postings, a “Galileo” badge after 20 postings, “Kepler” after 30, “Einstein” after 40, and so on. In ideal gamified learning environments, students can see the online badges that their peers have earned to create a sense of competition.
In short, gamification applies game elements or a game framework to existing learning activities; game-based learning designs learning activities that are intrinsically game-like. Gamification promotes engagement and sustained motivation in learning.
Gamification in education is also great for social learning, which can be a huge motivator in itself. There are apps and websites that give you the option to link up with friends and compete against their scores, challenging you to learn the most. It provides the following benefits:
Fun learning: Gamification introduces an element of play into the study, which ultimately makes for a fun experience. Having a goal to drive towards, or a new level to reach can push you to study harder. In true video game fashion, the challenge of reaching that new level or goal can be incredibly fun. Gamification can change the mindset of learning being a chore into something enjoyable that students look forward to.
Control and encouragement: Gamified learning material can make students and learners feel more in control of their own education. With motivators like point systems and levels, students have the means to work towards their goals in a way they understand and enjoy. Not only does gamified learning encourage students to feel as though they control their own destiny, but it also encourages them to try again after failing.
E-learning: Gamification also goes hand-in-hand with e-learning. Online education platforms are a great way to carry out gamified learning. E-learning has grown dramatically in recent years, particularly due to the pandemic and the need for online education alternatives. Apps and websites are great hosts for gamification techniques, as they often smoothly incorporate things such as leader boards and point systems.
5. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality (commonly abbreviated as AR and VR respectively) are reality technologies that either enhance or replace a real-life environment with a simulated one. Augmented reality (AR) augments your surroundings by adding digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) is a completely immersive experience that replaces a real-life environment with a simulated one.
In AR, a virtual environment is designed to coexist with the real environment, with the goal of being informative and providing additional data about the real world, which a user can access without having to do a search. For example, industrial AR apps could offer instant troubleshooting information when a handset is aimed at a piece of failing equipment.
Virtual reality encompasses a complete environmental simulation that replaces the user’s world with an entirely virtual world. Because these virtual environments are entirely fabricated, they are often designed to be larger than life. For example, VR could let a userbox with a cartoon version of Mike Tyson in a virtual boxing ring.
These technologies come with tremendous benefits for students. Some of the most interesting ones are:
- Expanded Collaboration and Teamwork: AR and VR don’t just provide assistance in improving collaboration between the teacher and the student, it likewise helps in improving joint effort amongst and students sustaining cooperation.
- Better Understanding of Concepts: Augmented reality and Virtual reality assist students with understanding dynamic themes in a superior manner which is impossible with customary techniques for instructing. Students can get a 360-degree perspective on subjects.
- Interruption Free Learning: AR and VR let students learn the subject matter in an interruption-free condition which helps in a superior comprehension of ideas and better memory.
- Proprioceptive Learning: Since these advancements accompany canny learning content, students can encounter things occurring around them. This is known as proprioceptive learning which enhances long-term memory.
6. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is a record-keeping technology designed to make it impossible to hack the system or forge the data stored on it, thereby making it secure and immutable. It is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT), a digital system for recording transactions and related data in multiple places at the same time. Each computer in a blockchain network maintains a copy of the ledger to prevent a single point of failure, and all copies are updated and validated simultaneously.
Blockchain is also considered a type of database but differs substantially from conventional databases in how it stores and manages information. Instead of storing data in rows, columns, tables, and files as traditional databases do, blockchain stores data in blocks that are digitally chained together. In addition, a blockchain is a decentralized database managed by computers belonging to a peer-to-peer network instead of a central computer like in traditional databases.
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin, launched in 2009, was the first popular application to successfully use blockchain. As a result, blockchain has been most often associated with Bitcoin and alternatives such as Dogecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Blockchain technology could provide an excellent framework to manage student records ranging from day-to-day information such as assignments, attendance, and extracurricular activities, to information about degrees and colleges they have attended. It would be a secure system that ensures educational records remain immutable.
The blockchain ledger would provide a time-stamped and tamper-proof record of faculty performance — attendance, student evaluations, number of students opting for their electives, research output, and publications. These records could be linked to faculty appraisal systems, thereby ensuring greater accountability.
The adoption of blockchain in education could help improve the efficiency of the education ecosystem and optimize the use of human and physical resources. It would help usher in an educational system that is better equipped to handle higher enrolment while being secure, transparent, collaborative, creative, and future-ready.
Here are some of the benefits of using blockchain technology:
Self-acquiring learning data by the learners: When student data like credentials, skills learned, etc., are stored by the Blockchain and not owned by any central administrator like the university, the student can store those data lifelong as well as fully own and control them. This, on the other hand, also proves that the information provided in their resume is accurate and establishes credibility with the employers.
Enhancement of security and efficiency for educational institutions and learners: Blockchain has the potential to ensure the identity, privacy, and security of students’ data. Through its immutability and hash function, Blockchain provides security and validity. As a result, the students cannot alter their past educational data stored on the Blockchain, which is very easy in the case of paper records. You can ensure the privacy of data by not storing it but instead using a hash. Or you can encrypt the data before storing it on the Blockchain.
Integration of trust and transparency between job seekers and employers: By using Blockchain, students cannot alter their credibilities like grades, degrees, and certification, thus guaranteeing the employers that the job applicants have the necessary skills for the job post. This helps employers to find better matches for the position the job seekers have applied for. This particularly happens through distributed ledger technologies.
Increased efficiency in existing business processes: Blockchain-based university diplomas are virtual transcripts or records of all educational achievements throughout one’s entire lifetime. This is the ultimate benefit of Blockchain in education. This variable transcript, which is lifetime value, reduces CV fraud and reduces the overhead related to credential verification in every industry sphere.
Generates a new market for digital assets: Blockchain has been utilized for the student payments process, which is another crucial area. Streamlining the payment process is another labor-intensive process that involves the student, parents, financial institutions, scholarship-granting agencies, governments, and educational institutions. It is expected that cryptocurrencies will take a key role in this area in the future as a student payment method.
Establish your additional credentials: Degrees or certifications are not only the limitation for student records. You may know many more things like multiple languages, soft skills, technical knowledge, or any specific ability you can store in Blockchain and later provide the link to establish your credentials. Since these skills are not easy to verify, the Blockchain records of such are beyond question. Services like Open Badge Passport are the first step in this direction.
Blockchain File storage: An institution deals with many records like digital curricula, degrees, and other information, records that will use a lot of file storage space. If they store that to a local drive, then it could be a question of centralizing information. Secondly, they can store it in the cloud, which may charge extra costs. Here Blockchain could be a possible solution that acts as decentralized file storage. A possible solution would be blockchain-based cloud storage services like Filecoin.
Executing Lessons and courses: You can execute automatic lessons and tasks using smart-contract-capable blockchains. That means that lessons and courses can be programmed into the Blockchain and executed automatically when certain conditions are met. For example, a teacher could set up tasks for students. The Blockchain’s smart contracts could automatically verify the completion of each assignment. Upon completing all tasks, teachers could receive payment with crypto tokens, and students could be awarded credits. Entire courses could be laid out this way.
Publishing in the research area: Lots of quality materials are generated every day in the research area. But publishing them on time is a big issue. But publishing on a blockchain could help new writers, researchers, and many others break into the industry. Blockchains could also help with rights management and protection against piracy.
7. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI), the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.
Since the development of the digital computer in the 1940s, it has been demonstrated that computers can be programmed to carry out very complex tasks—as, for example, discovering proofs for mathematical theorems or playing chess—with great proficiency. Still, despite continuing advances in computer processing speed and memory capacity, there are as yet no programs that can match human flexibility over wider domains or in tasks requiring much everyday knowledge.
On the other hand, some programs have attained the performance levels of human experts and professionals in performing certain specific tasks, so artificial intelligence in this limited sense is found in applications as diverse as medical diagnosis, computer search engines, and voice or handwriting recognition.
We’re now seeing it manifesting in our lives every day, and it has brought about a lot of possibilities in the education sector as well. Here are some of the leading roles that artificial intelligence is playing/will play in education.
Task Automation: AI has been used in different industries to automate tasks, and it will come in handy the same way in the education sector. Professors and teachers usually have to manage the classroom environment alongside numerous organizational and administrative tasks. The teachers don’t just teach. They also spend time grading tests, evaluating homework, filing the necessary paperwork, making a progress report, organizing resources and materials for lectures, managing teaching materials, etc. It’s a lot of work involved.
In the end, they spend a lot of time on non-teaching tasks, and it overwhelms them. Artificial Intelligence will automate these tasks to have more time to do their primary work of teaching without being bothered with administrative tasks.
Personalized learning: AI can ensure that educational software is personalized for individuals. There are already adaptive learning software, games, and programs for students. This use of AI is probably one of its most significant in education as learning is more comfortable and smoother and cut across personal knowledge.
This system emphasizes each student’s needs, highlighting specific topics students are weak in and repeating subjects they haven’t mastered. This will create custom-tailored education through AI. Teachers will only be there to offer support and help when students need it.
Universal access: Educational classrooms can become globally available to all students through AI tools, even those that have hearing or visual impairment or speak different languages. With a PowerPoint plugin such as Presentation Translator, students have real-time subtitles for everything the teacher says. This opens up new possibilities for students who need to learn at different levels, who want to learn a subject unavailable in their school, or who are sick and absent from school. AI can break down the silos between traditional grade levels and schools.
Smart content creation: AI can help teachers create smart content that makes teaching and learning more comfortable for them and the students, respectively.
Digital lessons: AI can help generate bite-sized learning, study guides, and digital textbooks, all within the framework of digital learning.
Information visualization: Simulation, visualization, and web-based study environments are different ways to perceive information that AI can power.
Learning content updates: Learning content can be generated and updated regularly with AI. This ensures that information is up-to-date.
Teaching the teacher: One thing that is important in education is for the teacher to not rely on their old, residual knowledge. There are more facts that they need to know and teach the students as well. Not to mention the fact that they study and teach within a limited scope and there are many other things that they can still learn.
With AI, teachers have comprehensive information available to them at their fingertips. This allows them to keep themselves educated in things that they didn’t know or improve on their past knowledge. With this, they will be better-rounded and have a more in-depth and broader knowledge base to sea with the 21st-century students.
Identify classroom weakness: The primary fear of introducing AI into an industry is that it will replace the industry workers, and people will lose their jobs. This isn’t entirely true, though. In fact, in education, AI is not meant to replace teachers. It’s meant to complement them.
AI can complement the teacher’s work in a classroom to identify some of the weaknesses within the classroom. For example, AI will be able to identify when some students miss specific questions. By alerting the teachers, they know they have to reteach the material because the students don’t understand it yet. This will make the teachers more accountable and make them adhere to the best teaching practices.
24/7 Assistance: It’s not just teachers that have access to a flurry of information through AI. Students do too. This means that they can get help on any topic at any time of the day with AI bots.
Traditionally, students only get solutions to their problems when they meet with their teachers or professors and have the chance to ask them questions in the classroom. Thankfully, they will not have to wait that long anymore. Several AI-powered chatbots are specifically built for education as a sector. They work as students’ assistants round the clock to provide answers to their queries at any time. So, they don’t have to wait to see the professor in their office or the classroom.
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Conclusion: Learning and mastering new-age technological skills enable children to better understand and interact with the world around them. When it comes to preparing children for the future, there are few better ways than learning ever-crucial tech skills!
Valuable and necessary in the 21st century, developing technological expertise helps children grow academically, and build perseverance and organization skills that can translate into a career. Plenty of children are naturally curious about new-age technology, so getting them tech-savvy isn’t the hard part. But, it can be difficult to know what’s the right way to introduce them to technologies.