Top 10: What tech is impacting education in 2020? | Jan20 Newsletter
2020 will witness entirely new ways of teaching and learning, and advances in education tech promise to accelerate both. From faster 5G internet connections to quicker integration of complex subject matter through AR (augmented reality) and AI (artificial intelligence), technology trends are taking academics to new physical – and virtual – realms.
Here’s a look at how ten technologies are reimagining how we learn in the new millennium.
1. Artificial Intelligence
Once reserved for "Jetsons" episodes, AI is quickly becoming commonplace in the classroom. In fact, some experts predict educational AI will increase 47.5% by 2021.
Consider it the teacher’s aid to end all other teacher aids. AI amplifies the role of the educator with occupational perks like personalised tutoring sessions and targeted practise exercises, real-time tailored lesson plans based on overall student performance and even instant plagiarism review.Thanks to AI education technology, teachers spend less time on minutia like grading, leaving room for a more meaningful approach to whole student teaching through social emotional learning and soft skill cultivation.
2. Augmented Reality
Hitting your “flow state." Being ”in the zone." Creating an “optimal experience." All are different names for the same immersive, transcendent space that happens when the human brain is fully engaged in seamless productivity.
To the delight of educators everywhere, Augmented Reality (AR) is captivating young minds in the educational environment. It’s facilitating the synthesis of complex material while offering students a taste of total absorption.
Forget 2D images of flatly-coloured diagrams in thick textbooks. With AR, students can have a sensory experience with virtually any subject. Be it a journey through the streets of the Roman Empire during its heyday, a jaunt through the Milky Way Galaxy, a plunge into the molecular realm of an electron, or the visualisation of an involved algorithm, students can experience lessons like never before right from their cell phones.
3. Cloud Technology
Cloud technology has been making its way around the public sector for years. Schools are harnessing its power at impressive rates, with the aim of taking advantage of a variety of efficient, effective processes. According to one source, 96% of leading research institutions use Amazon Web Services (AWS), a popular cloud service among academics.
There are several reasons it’s becoming an institutional go-to, including its ability to help:
Identify at-risk students, by pinpointing those who may be falling behind based on their grades.
Reduce expenditures, by scaling back data needs during slow times like summer break and reducing on-site data centre maintenance costs.
Secure student data, by protecting it from cyber attacks and breaches.
Save time, by allowing teachers to access resources from the cloud and upload completed assignments for instant grading.
Coding may soon be a dual language most everyone speaks. In fact, many students are fluent in it by the time they enter the school system. And school staff would be wise to follow suit.
Even basic coding skills allow instructors to customise applications used in the tech-savvy classroom. They can also help better understand the data and research collected from educational technologies. That way, they’re able to make immediate changes to the material and meet the student body where they are.
And let’s not overlook the importance of disseminating basic coding lessons. It’s a skill whose demand is only going to increase, continually co-opting every possible field of study in its wake.
5G stands for the fifth generation network, and it is set to take over completely by next year. It purports to make our internet connections and download speeds 1000% faster than their 4G counterparts. It’ll also allow more devices to connect without impacting performance.
This is fantastic news for schools relying on these high-powered networks to access huge swaths of streaming content, as well as the AI and AR lessons that reliably capture the interest of video-loving Gen Z. It also has the opportunity to provide additional support to special needs learners who benefit from robotic physical assistance applications.
6. ADA Accessibility
Accessibility is a huge topic of conversation in the school environment, and this goes double for websites. According to Abilitynet.org, fewer than 10% of websites today are accessible.
Digitally, educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure they level the playing field for students, staff and visitors of all ability levels. This means designating an office that evaluates the systems and softwares used for everything from content management to payroll.
7. Appealing to Gen Z with Gamification
According to a 2018 Pearson study, 59% of Gen Z feels that technology will drastically impact the next generations of learners.
When it comes to engagement, one model seems to incentivise participation more than almost any other: gamification. Before you write it off, realise that seemingly frivolous rewards like points, stickers or badges actually lead to preferred outcomes like improved overall performance and better retention rates.
It seems with a modicum of competition, students are more motivated and regard learning as fun – an element to which our brains respond.
8. Student Analytics
The data-driven classroom is an important part of today’s education system. Advances in student analytics give teachers invaluable insights about the performance of their class at a macro and micro level. The automation of assignments, and the grading of them, free teachers' valuable time for more productive pursuits like planning complete course modules and providing in-depth guidance in areas where an individual or the entire student body may be struggling.
9. Cyber Security
Cyber attackers are taking aim at schools. Why? They’re filled with sensitive personal data like social security numbers, addresses and birth dates.
Since the cloud allows for multi-user access, the shared storage method is used to conveniently house student records in schools across the country. However, these systems must also be backed by strict, foolproof security measures to protect the data that exists and the students who supply it.
10. Personalised learning/blended learning
It’s almost impossible for a single teacher to customise a unique set of curriculum for each of their many students throughout the year. This would mean taking into account the individual aptitudes and interests of each and every learner.
However, with the help of AI applications, personalised learning and blended learning environments can engage different students with different types of content at any time – in or outside the classroom.
Education, like most other industries, is being transformed and supported by today’s ever-changing technology. Though the adoption of some on this list can be initially seen as disruptive, the benefits of Ed Tech are poised to significantly impact education in 2020 and beyond.