Top 7 Ways Technology is Advancing Education
After a look at the Top 5 Problems with Technology in Education Today, we are following up with the many ways in which technology is changing education for the better.
Some say that bringing technology in the classroom has a high price tag, but technology is also extremely cost effective. Resources such as ebooks, free online resources, and virtual field trips, are fostering learning and making it more affordable for students of all ages.
Ebooks are often cheaper and come with interactive games, worksheets, and linked dictionary tools. Schools who subscribe to ebooks can also more easily keep up to date on constantly updated editions.
6. Multimedia learning
Multimedia learning caters to all types of learning styles. By covering all the bases with multimedia learning through text, video, and games, students have a better chance of understanding the lesson. Ebooks often come with these resources, but using online learning resources and apps also allow teachers to include the multitude of ways for a teacher to present information.
5. Students with disabilities
Recent reports show how iPads have helped students with autism to communicate. Text-to-speech applications have also been used to help poor readers, students with dyslexia, and blind students. For some disabled students technology has helped shave down on bulky instruments and classroom frustrations.
4. Online Resources
Online resources such as simulations, videos, and models help supplement teachers’ lesson plans. Simulations can better help explain complex concepts such as molecular biology [A great example of this is the online resource Nanospace], and scientific theories.
3. EdTech Startups
Ken Yeung of The Next Web suggests that startups could be the Superman to the current crisis of funding cuts in schools. The waning support for education in government is being counteracted by the help of edtech startups that are introducing a myriad of ways that technology can help in the classroom. Most of these EdTech startups offer their products and apps for free, such as Countdown, Coursera, and ClassDojo.
A MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, is a mostly free course that includes course materials and user interactive forums for anyone who would like to learn outside the classroom. MOOCs expand the possibility of distance and global learning. They can help some who may not have the ridiculous amount of money colleges ask for or let students keep learning after school ends.
MOOCs are also being integrated with Big Data, which more efficiently tracks student progress through online monitoring of lessons. Big Data hopes efficient assessments will aid instructors to create more personalized lesson plans for students.
1. Tech Giants
Tech giants are behind education. In the 1980s Apple Inc. donated Apple I model computers to schools, and since then Apple hasn’t strayed far away from education. In a 2012 press release Apple announced a new iBook 2 app that will “offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more.”
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said “Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world.”
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates gave millions of dollars in grants to support learning in postsecondary schools and both Microsoft and Apple offer generous student discounts on their products.
Apple’s iTunes U is a free app that as Apple describes it is “the world’s largest online catalog of free education content from leading institutions.” Instructors can also use iTunes U by creating their own lessons and sending it privately to their class.
iPads and other Apple products are certainly being used in schools to help support lessons and some believe it will change education forever.
Michelle is a current graduate student at Emerson College and an intern at Boston's public radio station. She enjoys exploring the world of educational technology and writing about the ever-changing sector and its potential.