Like it or not, education has changed over the past year. Remote and virtual learning entered the “classroom” quickly, and in some cases, has hung around for many months. And while the transition may have been a bit hectic in the beginning, it has spurred on a number of technological trends that are likely to benefit current and future learners.
Educational Technology (Ed Tech) is technology that is focused on supporting the learning process and building stronger learning experiences that result in better outcomes. With technology in nearly every facet of our lives, it makes sense that it enters the realm of education as well. And, there are a few technology trends that are likely to surge in education this year and keep students engaged for the years to come.
Ed Tech Trends For 2021 (and beyond)
Although online learning isn’t new, this is undoubtedly a trend that is going to stick around and likely adapt a bit. For example, students, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, now have access to educators around the globe. Which means different perspectives and different styles of teaching can be incorporated into classrooms in your hometown. This not only makes the world a tad bit smaller, but can also enhance learning for students engaging in these classes or courses.
Gamification consists of online games that help students learn various topics. Think of spelling games that help younger students with difficult spelling words. Or games that support learning multiplication, fractions of how to calculate the square root of a number. Games support a fun learning environment and often times, students can pick up concepts quicker because of their level of engagement.
This is a big one and is pretty cool as well. Virtual reality offers students the opportunity to learn in a more real-world environment while in their home or classroom. If, for example, the subject being taught focuses on aquatic animals in the ocean, virtual reality can support this lesson by transporting the students into the ocean. Students can see the animals swim past them, and understand symbiotic relationships of specific animals, while they are literally sitting in a chair. For many, an experience like that will not only create more interest in the topic, but will also help the information stick.
With augmented reality, students interact with 3-dimensional “models” and are able to turn them, change color, etc. to learn. If, for example, students are learning about human lungs, augmented reality can support this learning with 3D lungs that students can rotate to better understand how they function and the specific details on the lungs. Certainly, a powerful tool for the medical and scientific fields, but is also applicable in a number of other areas of study as well.
Video Assisted Learning
Videos have entered the “classroom” as a way to support, or enrich, what the educator is teaching. And, with numerous videos available, the options become nearly endless. Students learning about lab experiments can see an experiment take place through video. Those learning the names of the 50 states can watch a musical video drawing those 50 states. The options are almost limitless, and they engage students on a different level.
The information behind learning analytics tends to be extensive. The output is the interesting part. Through Learning Analytics, educators can get a better understanding of how students learn, and can apply that to future lessons. These analytics can help educators understand if their students were impacted by any loss of school. Even how far off they may be and how to get them back on track.
While the technology varies, the ultimate goal of these Ed Tech trends is engagement and enhanced learning opportunities. That’s a change that we can all get on board with.