The classroom experience is not just about chalk and blackboard any more.
Technology has made its way into the classroom and is changing the way education is delivered. A new learning culture has developed which is making education more hands-on and practical. The 21st century skills that a student must acquire to succeed, have moved far beyond the traditional textbook and it is essential for teachers to keep up. Here are the top trends in emerging education technologies:
1. Cloud Computing
This is seen as a high-impact technology because of its collaborative nature. Web-based tools and applications are enhancing communication between students and teachers. Documents are shared while assignments are submitted and even graded through the Cloud. Data such as pictures, applications, notes and music are easy to store and access using any device, thanks to cloud computing. Brazilian language teachers are using cloud computing to produce and share learning objectives with their students. California based Northridge University has introduced a collaborative science initiative to help teachers in high-need Los Angeles schools to participate in research experiences through cloud computing.
2. Mobile Technology
In a time where mobile internet traffic surpasses desktop traffic, mobile devices cannot be ignored in the field of education. Not surprising that educational apps are the second most downloaded category of mobile applications on iTunes. Since mobile devices are more affordable than most laptops, they are the first choice for educators. A primary school in Australia uses tablets pre-loaded with mathematical applications and online textbooks to access information and conduct research. The iPad orchestra at Institute International de Lancy in Switzerland is another stunning example of how mobile devices are being used in music education.
Massively Open Online Courses have become increasingly popular and continue to grow rapidly over the last few years. Anyone with an internet connection in any part of the globe can learn pretty much any skill set at no cost. This method comes close to moving the classroom experience to an online activity. Its personalized approach has made it the most sought-after method to learn. An MIT graduate has developed a MOOC which takes you on a virtual tour of Italy, the Netherlands and England while explaining the fundamental concepts of Physics at historical monuments.
Though the original purpose of games is purely recreation, their purpose has been redefined in the field of education. Integrating digital and online games into school curriculum has led to a more engaging learning experience. A simulation game called SimArchitect developed by IBM in which players meet virtual clients, conduct meeting and propose solutions. Players are scored on communication and architectural methods.
5. 3-D Printing
Arguably the coolest piece of technology, the 3D printer is still a newbie when it comes to education. Prototyping and production tools are used by geology, anthropology and organic chemistry students. STARBASE, a Minnesota non-profit is using 3-D printing in their aerospace program where students plan a mission to Mars. More recently, Harvard University’s Semitic Museum used a 3-D scanner to assist in the archaeological restoration of an Egyptian artefact.
Technology is shaping the way forward for progressive educators to redefine the classroom experience. Welcome to the new era of education led by the tech revolution!
Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of Transtutors, a leading online tutoring company providing help for college students. Outside of work, Aditya has a personal interest in helping students with their career aspirations and skill development.