For two decades, technology seduced us, sleek devices and clever apps promising us a better, tech-enabled life. Tech would liberate, enlighten, and most of all, connect us. Now that dream has shattered. The fevered claims of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Wired magazine futurists now seem naïve, reckless. Tech-utopia is over. Is “personalized learning” and ed tech headed for the same reckoning?
A new report from Strada Education Network offers key takeaways from last fall's Online Student Success Symposium, a two-day workshop focused on challenges, innovative practices and future opportunities in online learning.
Despite the current and past climate in education, I am seeing cultural change, attitudes change, and mindsets change toward education technology. Conservative communities finally understand Edtech is not trying to replace teachers, and that the internet is not a dangerous territory that pollutes young minds. And this cultural change has enabled a healthier and friendlier ecosystem for startups to innovate.
In addition to computers, students of today often have access to such tech as smart boards and tablets as learning aids. In fact, technology has become so integrated into education that many are looking to once-futuristic, now realistic tech such as augmented and virtual realities (AR and VR) to lead the way in the next-generation classroom.
My answer is a yes and a no. It depends on what your job really is. Technology should change the way we work in a positive way. We all want our students to be in the lead and learn and use cutting edge technology so that when they are in the workforce they can be effective and current. So why not model this type of behavior as an adult?
Education has not had a make-over in over a century. Some schools still advocate for factory-style instruction. Bureaucratic red tape and top-down initiatives consume teachers’ time, leaving little left for instruction. No industry is more ready for a revolution than education. The fourth revolution in education is here, and it’s called artificial intelligence. AI is taking schools and classrooms by storm as educators welcome AI with open arms. Artificial intelligence has the potential to change education for the better.
Augmented and virtual reality tools are enhancing biology and health and wellness classes for K-12 students through safe, virtual labs and field trips that go inside the body. Growing demand for mixed reality content, to increase engagement, has sparked a wave of creativity in how immersive tools are used in the classroom, especially in traditionally abstract topics such as math and computer science.
Some of the conclusions may not come as a surprise in the Omidyar Network’s report on what works in scaling education technology in different regions worldwide. Governments, educators, advocacy groups and companies large and small need to work better together. Long-term planning and investment in infrastructure for widespread and improved access to the internet and mobile devices is critical.
A new generation always gravitates towards technology. Remember when we used to wait for computer class, just to get to tap a few keys while sharing a device with three other students? Technology in education has come a long way from then, with third and fourth graders submitting their homework via email, or taking online tests.
The traditional textbook has been in a state of transformation for some time now, and 2019 marks an important year of acceptance from the education industry and outside influencers who recognize where its path is leading. Those of us in the industry have all heard about the impending “death of the textbook.” We live in an increasingly digital world and students spend a lot of time using technology to connect to people, to be entertained, and to learn. It’s this third piece that we are finally embracing.