Technology has revolutionized the way societies live and work for many decades, and with the efforts of e-learning and massive open online courses (MOOC) it's changed how people learn as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic boosted the development of technology for education that allowed teachers to instruct and students to learn safely from different locations away from a traditional classroom environment. Some educators, parents, and students have embraced the growing role of technology in classrooms, while others remain skeptical about its effectiveness.
Despite the skepticism, start-up and established tech companies are focusing more than ever on creating educational tools that assist teachers and engage students.
A number of schools have adopted the one-to-one computing initiative, which is designed to equip every student with a personal computer, laptop, tablet (or another electronic device with internet access) to enhance the learning experience.
1:1 computing seeks to prepare students for the digital future and ease communication between teachers and students. These devices are sometimes provided with preloaded course materials and allow students to learn at their own pace outside of the classroom. They also make it easier for teachers to track student progress.
Educators can modify course materials creatively to engage students and keep them interested by using these technologies for education.
While electronic devices are becoming more affordable, not every school district can implement 1:1 computing yet, especially in rural areas with infrastructure issues or others struggling with underfunding.
Access to More Resources
Students no longer need to travel to specific locations, such as libraries or museums, as 24/7 access to the internet means all kinds of educational materials are available at the touch of a button.
Quick and easy access to teachers, classmates, and various academic resources allows students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills on their own time. Students can also use these online tools to deeply research the professions that interest them at a young age.
The internet is also full of questionable material, and educators must show students how to distinguish reputable sources.
Open Educational Resources
The U.S. Department of Education supports the usage of open educational resources and defines them as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others.” Some educators believe they engage students more than lectures and textbooks.
Different types of OERs include online courses, modules, videos, audio, syllabi, journal articles, presentation slides, games, assignments, tests and quizzes, and more. This technology for education can help faculty members prepare for lectures accurately and faster, while students can use them to organize and plan their academic choices.
Teachers and students spent many decades navigating through textbooks that often contained content that actually impeded the learning experience. OERs come under Creative Commons licenses that allow teachers to alter course materials quickly, such as to replace bland content with more resonant and thought-provoking information.
These free resources can also alleviate the financial hardships that many students face by replacing expensive and heavy textbooks.
Learning From Any Location
There are fewer boundaries now that impede students from learning. Now, with an adequate internet connection and a computer, students can gain academic knowledge, inside and outside of classrooms, at any given time.
Remote learning has been around for a few years, but it was the COVID-19 pandemic that made it more common and necessary. Virtual classrooms, live chat, and face-to-face communication enable teachers, students, and other professionals to interact from their homes and different parts of the world.
Students can attend online lectures in real-time, even when they get sick and miss class, and access older lessons to catch up or review. This approach can be particularly beneficial for students and educators who live in remote or rural areas.
Calculators are some of the oldest tools for education, but they are no longer limited to dedicated electronic devices.
Many classrooms are now utilizing free online calculators that can be used across multiple platforms and allow teachers and students to interact by working problems together, comparing answers, and more. They also have new features that let users move around graphs quicker and zoom in and out of screens.
There are many different online calculators to choose from, such as those that specialize in specific math subjects like geometry, algebra, and statistics. Some even have features that assist users with loan interest rates, mortgage payments, bills, and more.
The availability of free tools like online significant figures calculators that deliver the most precise and accurate numbers for measured and calculated quantities can be invaluable, economical, and time-saving for students of math, physics, chemistry, and other fields.
Technology has even influenced the evolution of the whiteboard. Interactive whiteboards have touch-sensitive screens and internet access, along with plenty of features that traditional whiteboards can’t include.
They can display multimedia content and quickly answer questions, allowing students and teachers to interact and work on assignments together. Those with eyesight problems, and students who sit in the back, can also see interactive whiteboards better with clear, focused images that can be expanded or shrunk.
Teachers can use the various tools available within interactive whiteboards to efficiently prepare lessons ahead of time and display the most vital information. They are also ideal for remote learning lessons because teachers can share interactive whiteboard screens with students.
Simulation and Virtual Reality
Simulation and virtual reality tools are some of the most game-changing technologies for education as they can enable students to safely and digitally dive deeper into their studies.
Students use simulation tools to explore abstract concepts with visual content they can interact with, such as the parts of an atom or different human and animal organs. They can also provide detailed feedback for students. Students from various fields can learn from safe, simulated scenarios without harming anybody or the environment, like surgery practice for med students.
Virtual reality headgear can place students in different locations and eras that help them understand a wide range of topics. With this tech on hand, a student can explore the geography of remote and dangerous regions like the Arctic or see how dinosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era. These tools have high entertainment value and can boost students’ academic interests.
The future workforce will undoubtedly require tech-savvy individuals as more companies and services operate in the digital realm. Many of these technologies for education are very new and are constantly being developed and upgraded, but also expensive to become commonplace in most schools. Those prices will certainly drop as tech companies compete with more products.
Despite the price of these efforts, technology has opened a realm that creates accessible education for everyone. Not only does it allow students to have an interactive experience, but it also enables those who may have difficulty with mobility, different learning abilities, and people living in any location to participate in an immersive educational experience.
As we move into a new era, we can expect to see more technological advancements entering the classroom to promote an all around inclusive experience.