The Future of Education in the Digital Age

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Digital technology will continue to reshape the future of education. As learning methods evolve, tech innovations will impact how teachers and administrators progress in educational environments of the future. The art and practice of education in 2020 will look very different from the learning practices of the past and present.

One of the most exciting trends in education is gamification, which is the application of game elements in nongaming environments for the purpose of instruction. Gamification “makes learning difficult subject matter more exciting and interactive,” according to a Forbes article by researcher Daniel Newman. Teachers can use gaming technology to replicate real-life situations, where the game gives constant feedback, allowing students to improve their skills the more they play. However, for gamification to have an impact in education, teachers must first know how to use the technology.

A teacher in an elementary school classroom works on a laptop with a group of students.

Teachers and administrators are crucial to connecting this and other new technologies to students. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of K-12 teachers, only 10 percent said they feel confident in their application of higher-level technology in the classroom. Nearly 80 percent said they “would like to receive more professional development for technology-related subjects.”

Teachers are embracing their role as the link between technology and students. To properly integrate new technologies and methods, teachers should keep up-to-date by refreshing their skills via professional development and education. Maryville University’s online degree programs are excellent resources for teachers and other education professionals looking to pick up new skills in cutting-edge technologies and methodologies.

Technological Trends in Education

As technology transforms all industries, it becomes even more integrated into education. For professionals looking to stay current, here are some technological trends in the future of education that are worth noting.

Teachers Using Data

Traditionally, course lectures have been taught one way to make the most of the lesson time: Teachers instruct students by lecturing from the front of the classroom. However, new technologies are changing the way students and teachers interact, to both of their benefit. Ben Dickson, writing in PC Magazine, said that machine learning (ML) algorithms are capable of quantifying understanding of a lecture at an individual student level. The artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of student comprehension helps educators locate students’ exact pain points, which can be revisited for clarification and understanding. Analyzing specific student data with AI will ultimately increase the effectiveness of teacher assistance and enhance student achievement.

Technology has also gone above and beyond in identifying exactly when students may need help with a lesson, whether due to incomprehension or boredom. According to Dickson, AI-powered platforms can compile digital learning profiles of each student by “collecting live information from the user’s interaction with course material and context.” Some advanced AI can integrate facial expression analysis. Once all the data is gathered, teachers can use the analysis to benefit individual students and to indicate trends among students in a class as a means of forecasting future performance.

Personalized Learning

Reaching every student in the learning style they prefer is nearly impossible with larger classes or when teaching complex topics. Moving forward into education in 2020 and beyond, educators are looking to AI to help connect students to lessons in improved ways. AI-powered learning models have the capacity to build intelligent tutoring systems. These systems feature unique capabilities designed to improve personalized learning for students: “Personalized content is tuned to their specific strengths and weaknesses,” said Dickson. Intelligent tutoring systems can operate in a one-on-one “self-paced learning environment” at the ideal pace for each student’s comprehension.

In addition to helping students learn, AI can help teachers assess areas in their lessons where students may stumble or lose interest as well as assess the relevance of their teaching preparations. Zoomi already has AI technology that uses natural language processing (NLP), which “parses the content and context of written material to weigh the quality of a teacher’s course material,” explained Dickson. Then, the program can remove unnecessary content and find complementary resources to fit within that gap, creating a more seamless, relevant lesson. Of course, for this to work, teachers need to have technological skills, organized plans, and the ability to electronically prepare their lessons.

Redesigning Modern Learning Spaces

Technology is also impacting how educators create spaces for learning. Major trends in education include virtual classrooms and tablets in the classroom. In many schools, students no longer need to request a laptop or use a computer lab. Instead, many teachers now use iPads or laptops to boost student engagement. In fact, according to a New York Times article, Google Chromebooks make up more than half the mobile devices used in schools, and more than half the country’s primary and secondary school students use Google Docs, Gmail, and other Google education apps.

New technologies are also redesigning modern learning spaces by actually changing how students and teachers experience that space. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities now offer the chance to bring the outside world inside the classroom. According to a Forbes article, the AR-based Unimersiv app can help students explore ancient Greece, while the CoSpaces Edu app uses these new technologies to enable students to share their content around the world. In an eSchool News article, Kathy Schrock, an online adjunct professor at Wilkes University, noted that the “creation of 360degree images enhances students’ skill sets in visual literacy, technology literacy, and attention to audience.” To effectively use these resources, teachers will need to combine basic technological skills with an understanding of how best to reach students while using electronic resources.

Teaching with New Technology

The future of education belongs to students, teachers, and the technology that will help them. As new technology-based education trends such as data use, personalized learning, and reconfigured learning spaces become a part of the future of education, teachers need to stay up to date to use technology to teach in the most effective way. Learn more about educational advancements offered by Maryville University’s online degree programs today. Become an educator or administrator prepared for the future of technology.

Sources

eSchool News, “15 Hot Edtech Trends for 2017”

Forbes, “Top 6 Digital Transformation Trends In Education”

Maryville University, Online Education Degrees

PC Magazine, “How Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the Future of Education”

PwC, “Technology in US Schools: Are We Preparing Our Kids for the Jobs of Tomorrow?”

The New York Times, “How Google Took Over the Classroom”