Continuing education for developers is important. Just when you think you’ve got a language or skill mastered, it changes on you. But instead of going back to school or joining a bootcamp, try learning online, which can prove more efficient (and often more cost-effective).
From K-12 to higher education, the demand for educational technologies and people with the expertise needed to develop and implement edtech systems continues to grow. In January 2018, TechCrunch reported that in the first 10 months of 2017, investors put a staggering $8.15 billion into edtech companies around the world.
Immersive technologies such as virtual reality and 3D scanning are becoming so hot that educators across the country are beginning to roll them out for students of all ages. The problem is that, while technologies blending elements of the physical and digital worlds in simulated environments offer enormous academic value, too many institutions fall prey to what I call the “buy it and forget it” approach.
As millions of students head back to school, families are probably wondering if those shiny new devices, apps, and even games that are becoming a typical part of the school day are good for learning. As an education researcher focused on blended learning, I am often asked if education technology “works.” The underlying question here for all of us, myself included, is: “Based on the current evidence, do I want my child’s educational experience to include ed tech?”
Has a more hotly debated or wholly unanswerable question ever been posed? One can easily imagine an Epic Rap Battle of History between the Luddites and Futurists on this very topic. And nowhere is that seemingly innocuous question more likely to ruffle feathers than in the realm of education.
In 1944 Congress passed the G.I. Bill, making a college education -- something once reserved for the rich -- into a real possibility for returning middle class soldiers. Today, access to education is still being expanded, and not just across class lines. Modern day education institutions are using technology in unprecedented ways to make sure that no student is left behind, regardless of their disability, distance, learning style, or background.
In his book, "Rewiring Education," John D. Couch explores how teachers can use technology to improve the learning experience. Couch is Apple's vice president of education, and he points out that today's students are digital natives: They grew up with the iPhone, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Wikipedia. As a result, they don't see technology as a tool, as previous generations did.
Developing the technology-enabled workforce has topped the discussion agenda for thought leaders in business, politics and policy. Now, that discussion is rapidly moving to the K-12 education system, where the next generation must prepare for a world in which advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will be the norm and not the novelty.
I think it’s time for education technology leaders to head to the classroom--as teachers. Whether they’re MBAs, technologists, or literacy leaders, they can all teach a lesson or two about life and business. And in doing so, they might also pick up a quick tip or two that can help them build stronger products and businesses that better serve teachers and learners.
The education crisis cannot be solved by putting students in front of tablets. George Mason University professor of economics Tyler Cowen argues that if humans would follow rules and behave rationally, MOOCs might be the solution. The problem is we don’t. He suggests that students will not learn as efficiently when sitting alone in front of a computer than when surrounded by peers: Students learn better when they are within a community of learners.