The 21st century has brought a revolution to the world of education both over distances and in the classroom. The days of the traditional learning models of the world are numbered as we enter a digital, global educational arena. We can already see the effects of these new technologies on education today and here are five of the main ways technology is improving education.
1. More People have Access than Ever
The rise of the Open Education movement and the ideals of Open Access to learning content has been expressed best in the form of the MOOC. That’s short for Massive Open Online Course. These courses are usually free, available globally and created by some of the most elite learning institutions in the world.
While most MOOCs don’t give you a qualification when you finish them, they do give access to learning opportunities most people would not have had before. One study claims that two-thirds of people in the world have taken at least one MOOC.
The MOOC has inspired the nanodegree, which basically combines high-quality MOOCs into an accredited program that will actually give you certification.
2. Student Support is Better Than Ever
While Google and Amazon use big data analytics methods to sell more products and advertise with better targeting, the education world has adapted the technology to better ensure student success. Thanks to machine learning and advanced statistical methods, learning systems can predict which students are most likely to fail and give us time to intervene.
It’s not a perfect system and probably never will be, but the level of insight into student performance that’s now possible is already fundamentally changing how we teach and learn.
3. You Can Learn From Anywhere
As long as you have an internet connection and a desire to learn, you can. With worldwide access to the internet improving every day, people from the far-flung corners of the world can learn no matter where they are.
For example, a company called Preply have come up with an ingenious way for people to learn English when they don’t have access to a native speaker. For a small fee, you can get Skype English classes on preply.com
4. Disabled Students Can Learn More Easily
If you’re a blind or deaf student getting access to technology that makes it easier for you to learn has never been easy in the past. Now even the most basic smartphone comes with voice controls, screen readers and access to thousands of accessibility applications. The age of specialized and very expensive accessibility tech is nearly over, it would seem.
5. Classrooms Can Flip the Script
The traditional model of education has all the teaching happen face-to-face in the classroom. All students receive the same lesson, at the same time, from the teacher. The teacher gives the same lesson over and over, year after year.
Students go home and then try to apply what they’ve learned by doing homework. Usually, they do this alone, without any help.
Thanks to digital multimedia, internet access, and cheap computers it’s now possible to have a flipped classroom.
In a flipped classroom, what was homework is now classwork and vice versa. Students go through the lectures and other learning material at home on their own time. When they get back to class they now do the practical part of their learning.
Since the teacher is right there, they can get the help they need immediately and since the teacher doesn’t need to lecture, he or she can give more personal attention to students. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
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