A hundred years ago, humanity couldn’t have imagined that we’d develop some of the technology we have today. But thanks to innovation, the rise of the internet, and other advancements that we would have never imagined decades ago, life is becoming easier and more convenient thanks to what mankind can think of.
With so much progress, it’s hard to deny that the effects of technology won’t affect all educational levels any time soon. Decades ago, students were limited to combing tons of books for an answer, but now we have limitless information available accessible through our mobile phones. In the past, computers were a privilege reserved for those who could afford it, but now you’ll find that nearly all schools have a working computer.
Given the technology we have nowadays, what can we expect to see in the upcoming future of education?
Learning Through Your Gadgets
Perhaps this will be a reason that will keep parents from confiscating their children’s phones. Over 73 percent of teenagers have access to a smartphone, according to the Pew Center for Research, and it’s likely that more children will get one in the near future. Compared to the number of people when mobile phones came out, more people have smartphones because it is becoming a necessity to stay informed and accessible for instant communication.
It’s such a necessity that it may serve as a purpose for future educational purposes, welcoming its presence in a classroom instead of being a distraction that teachers discourage from bringing to school. Schools are beginning to understand that children perform better when their lessons are integrated with real-life situations, which may include interactive mobile apps that will help them learn in a familiar environment.
Some parents may argue that it might be financially irresponsible to hand expensive equipment to their children, but it may actually teach students to be more responsible with their belongings. Whether they carry their own iPad to school or borrow their school’s iPad, children will begin to understand the responsibility and ownership they have and how to take care of their expensive devices.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
With the Oculus Rift and other VR equipment in the market for several years now, educational programs could be added to the list of games already compatible with AR and VR. Using these two, it’s possible to create an enhanced experience that students can expect to go beyond the regular classroom. Instead of pictures, videos, or the traditional chalkboard, students can see virtual replicas of places, animals, or even people they study about.
More teachers are complaining that students’ attention spans are dwindling due to technology. That’s partially true, but it can also be a good sign. Students are less likely to pay attention when a teacher discusses a lesson because they’re bored. You have to remember that the high school students nowadays are Gen Z’s, meaning the eldest Gen Z members were born in 1997 – too young to remember a world without the technology we have today. Baby Boomers may claim they had better attention spans when they were students, but that’s because they only had schools to teach them what they know.
What Baby Boomers, Gen X’s, and older millennials see as innovation – such as the internet, smartphones, and AI – are the standard for the Gen Z’s. Since they grew up knowing that smartphones have access to vast information, they end up zoning out during lectures because they know they can absorb the same amount of data and going online to read up at their own pace. And because that’s their standard, they expect that innovation will make their education much more convenient.
Because lectures can lose students’ attention and interest after such a short time, VR can help boost interest and retention. It’s like stepping outside the classroom and exploring places in different countries or in fictional universes.
Compared to books, a VR simulation can be much more detailed. These students can manipulate objects instead of just reading about it, keeping them engaged throughout the lesson.
With AI now being sold for public use such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, it may soon make its way to classrooms. This may assist both students and teachers with their daily tasks and operations. For example, AI replicas of scientists, authors, or notable figures can lecture students instead of teachers doing it for them. Not only will this make learning more fun and interactive, it can provide students with a wider array of knowledge.
Teachers’ jobs may become much easier with AI as well. Grading assistants and chatbots can help teachers reduce the additional tasks their job involves, providing them with more time to teach and find ways to improve their performance.
Adapting to Academic Proficiencies
There’s a reason AP classes exist alongside remedial lessons and tutorials. There are some students who show extreme intelligence in certain areas and are capable of studying college-level lessons at an early age in the same way that there are students who struggle and need additional assistance to cope with the average standard lessons. It’s why separate classes are created, since gifted students are wasting their ability to learn in average classes while some students struggle with average classes.
Adaptive computers may soon assist schools with teaching students at their own pace. Adaptive computer-based testing can replace the one-size-fits-all classroom settings and examine students according to their own academic proficiency.
Technology can even help teachers assess how well a student performs in real-time. When teachers hand out homework and receive it the next day, they aren’t aware of the student’s thinking process or the difficulties they had undergone to finish the homework. However, if they were to provide online homework, it’s possible to get data such as how fast a student completes their homework, which question was the most difficult and took the longest time to answer, and how they came to that answer. Using this information, teachers can assist students in areas where they really need more help.
There’s always room for improvement, and thanks to technology, teachers can develop better strategies to teach multiple students at once while students can improve their interest and increase their grades through better performance.