The school year is off and running in many places and there's no doubt among teachers, educators, parents, and students that educational technology is a fast and changing entity in the era of digital education. Ed tech is here to stay and as it evolves some trends provide worthy enough to stick around and others emerge to actively engage and influence both students and educators.
In a world flooded with social media and scrolling through short pieces of content, more and more students are preferring to learn through content that is clear, concise, and easy to remember – usually less than 5 minutes long. These micro lessons or microlearning refers to meeting the specific needs of students through short lessons, often using multimedia forms of content such as interactive videos, infographics, or podcasts, just to name a few. The tools used for these types of short lessons could be social media, online courses, virtual classrooms, etc.
Remember the days when the teacher would roll in an old TV on a cart and students would instantly get excited because they knew they would be learning through watching a video? Whether it was in science class learning about the rainforest or in English class watching the adaptation of a Shakespeare play you just read, video was effectively utilized in teaching and still is today - it just looks a little different these days! In recent years, tools like YouTube in education and other video learning tools have developed some key trends:
- Adapted to smartphones
- Interactivity is present in many videos
- Short and goal-oriented content
- Quiz embedded in the video to capture the student’s attention
- Multiple platforms to make the streaming experience complete
Video is one of the most popular ways students engage with content and each other. Instead of just reading about a topic or watching a video on a screen, students can actually experience the concepts in 3D.
Augmented reality in the classroom provides the opportunity for learning by using technology to create a real-world scene. AR provides the opportunities for students to experience learning in a whole new way. Whether it's touring a museum like the Louvre, visiting a famous landmark like the Great Wall of China, learning how to interact with customers, or observing a surgery in a hospital, students can learn in a hands-on way like never before.
Another form of video learning is using video games in teaching. Gamification is a continuing trend gaining popularity. Adding elements of gamification to both online and in-classroom learning creates similar experiences for all students that motivate them to learn and engage with the material being taught. It also helps develop soft skills associated with students’ behavior, social relationships, and emotion management. Students get excited when they have a shared and vested interest!
According to Adam Chace, chief technology officer at ed tech company Curriculum Associates, who was quoted in Forbes:
“We will see a lot more gamification and students creating content for one another,” he says. “If you’re identifying where students have needs and giving them resources, those resources have to be effective, and to be effective they have to be engaging.
“We have a situation where, especially in middle school, those students are digital natives and they have high expectations of digital applications, so we need to make sure the games we’re giving them meet those expectations.”
Asynchronous learning is a general term that describes different forms of education, instruction, and learning that don't all occur in the same place or at the same time. It's a fancier term for hybrid learning; but instead of a pandemic forcing us to go back and forth between virtual at-home learning and in-classroom learning, asynchronous learning means students can choose whether to attend class at the set time or watch recordings after class when it's convenient for them. While more useful in higher education, this gives students easier access to courses that may not fit into their work or home schedules and teachers the freedom to record a lesson and share it later.
Integrated Whole Classroom
The Covid-19 pandemic caused educators, parents, and students to integrate multiple technologies for successful digital learning. Online classrooms through Zoom, platforms like Google Classroom, learning management systems where students could access high-quality content, interactive applications, and strategies to keep students interested, all played a part to make the digital classroom feel immersive and engaging. According to an article by Tech & Learning:
A calls out that it isn’t who or even what you teach but rather how you teach that makes the difference in learning outcomes. The study was conducted at the university level but can apply to all levels K-20. Polling, response apps, small group instruction, collaborative activities, and peer instruction are some of the effective strategies identified in active learning. Evidence shows that experience teaching matters because teachers with experience using technology as a primary teaching tool are more likely to incorporate effective instructional strategies into the online environment, which yields higher student outcomes.
All these integrated technology components, along with a teacher who is well-equipped and willing to learn how the technology connects, can be used online and brought into the physical classroom to continue to incorporate these learning strategies for students.
EdTech Solutions leverages education technology to improve learning by making it easy and simple for schools and students to manage and access individualized digital content on any device. EdTech’s cutting-edge approach to schoolwide ebook implementation and our innovative online platform and tools give school administrators and teachers the controls they need while providing students and parents with access to all their content on one easy-to-use platform with a single login, in most cases.
When you work with us, we create a personalized bookstore for your school where students can access and purchase their ebooks and textbooks on Shelfit.com. We also help publishers make their content available digitally to students on our robust multi-publisher ebook reader platform. We strongly believe that knowledge and good education should be available to all, and we are committed to developing and providing the online learning tools and modern services that make it possible.