Over the last few years, new learning models have been sweeping through classrooms as educators begin to supplement their classrooms with the latest technologies. The education industry has long been known for being slow to change methods in the classroom. However, with the current state of education technology, it is harder to ignore the benefits of using technology in the classroom.
Although 2017 brought in the lowest amount on edtech deals at 126, the amount of capital investment reached just above $1.2 billion. This investment is a significant increase from 2016, primarily for the companies who operate in the curriculum product space.
All across the world, education is important. Education systems have varying degrees of intensity in different countries and across different cultures, but everyone everywhere seems to know that education is vital to the future success of humanity. Since the beginning of time, people have been passing down lessons and skills to younger generations until eventually, formal education was established. In the United States alone, drastic changes have occurred over the past few centuries when it comes to who is educated, how they are educated, and what they are educated about.
Just as artificial intelligence has begun to gain popularity in the home with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home device, it is slowly changing the way educators think about how the classroom works. AI is gradually disrupting the experiences of both students and teaching professionals alike.
Tools like Professor Einstein, a robotic representation of Albert Einstein, help teach younger students about science. The robot can give lectures, answer questions, joke around, and even helps relate to kids by using silly facial expressions. Many other tools like this are being implemented to help students with all sorts of curriculum, such as spelling and math.
Artificial intelligence won’t just be a valuable addition to students; in 2018 the industry will begin to see more tools introduced that will benefit educators. Chatbots and grading assistants are just a couple examples AI platforms will allow professionals to spend more time teaching and less time with administrative tasks.
As learning becomes more focused on personalization and freedom of choice, personal responsibility will become increasingly important. Students will no longer be able to rely on teachers, parents, or peers to carry them through courses or even grade levels, as they will be expected to complete tasks and demonstrate skills individually. This Washington Post article notes that online learning and unique curriculum innovations have begun to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility in education, but this will be stressed even more as education continues to advance and evolve.
A professor at Georgie Tech, Ashok Goel has created an AI assistant in the form of a chatbot; Jill Watson. Jill helps Ashok and his TA’s by answering the more fundamental questions for students. Gradescope, which has already helped to grade millions, has received $2.6 million in early-stage investment (6). Although costs of integrating AI tools in the classroom may seem high, it won’t be far off when more accessible tool reach the market.
Increased Technological Integration
Most people are aware of the insane advances of technology that are making learning and teaching easier than ever before. Some schools have already begun utilizing tablets that are pre-loaded with textbooks. Others have Smart Boards in every classroom. Others allow students to text in responses to questions with their cell phones. Technology is advancing and our educational system is jumping on board.
Teachers are finding it easier to teach with certain technological advances, and students are already interested in utilizing the newest tech and are more willing to participate in class when using it. The future of education absolutely involves technology, and it won’t be long before every school in America has fully integrated classrooms with fewer books, notebooks, and pencils than ever before.
Basic textbooks with ineffective assessments and boring worksheets are slowly disappearing from our schools, says sciencemag.org. Teachers know that it’s harder than ever to keep students engaged nowadays, and school administrations are beginning to utilize more innovative curriculum within their schools.
Many educational environments are already starting to phase out standard lectures and rudimentary assessments, but the future holds even more curriculum innovation. Students need to be able to experience the concepts they’re learning firsthand, not just read about them in a book, and curriculum innovation is just one way to advance our educational system and give our students another advantage when it comes to academia.
As the trend of technology in the classroom continues on an upward tick, we will begin to see mobile learning platforms take over the classroom. According to the Pew Center for Research, 73% of teenagers have access to a smartphone and as time goes on this number will continue to rise. Educators understand that connecting mobile technology in and outside of the classroom can help provide a more integrated learning experience for their students.
The ability to share content and motivate through gamification of these applications is also seen as a real benefit. Incorporating video games with the level up mentality can help motivate students to increase productivity and have been shown to increase the amount of information students retain.
We know that students tend to retain more information when the curriculum is tailored to their learning style and speed. Mobile learning platforms allow educators to utilize big data analytics not only to observe learner preferences carefully, but also to understand what may or may not be working in a particular curriculum. This makes it easier for educators to customize an education plan for their classroom, as well as individual students.
Using virtual and augmented reality will help teachers provide an enhanced experience in the classroom. The days of learning on a chalkboard are over; modern teachers understand that keeping each student engaged throughout the lesson not only lets them spend more time teaching, but also helps boost interest and retention.
Virtual reality applications allow students to step into a world outside the classroom. Often these experiences are not possible without this new emerging technology. Instead of learning about ancient Rome in a textbook, students now can put on a headset and walk around the Coliseum to truly experience the Roman way of life. The use of these tools doesn’t have to be expensive either. Companies like Unimersiv offer multiple platforms from the higher-end Oculus to the more obtainable Google Cardboard.
Augmented reality is just another way to show content to students in a more detailed manner. Unlike virtual reality, AR brings digital representations of different artifacts into the classroom. Students can view and manipulate these objects to gain a better understanding as well as interest for further exploration. The goal here is to keep the students captivated and engaged throughout the lesson and beyond. As virtual and augmented reality technologies become stronger and more readily available, they will open up endless educational opportunities.