Making the Grade: How Advancements in EdTech Give Students and Schools a Competitive Edge Pt.1
Category: In Class
One of the main goals of education is to help children become productive members of society – both during their time of learning and adulthood. Although some educational institutions are taking steps to ensure their students achieve this goal, more can be done to help the current generation evolve into contributing members of society for today and tomorrow. Incorporating education technology (EdTech) into the learning experience facilitates this process.
EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY (EDTECH) IN THE CLASSROOM
Of course, technological tools have already been used in the classroom, with some critics pointing out mixed results. This may largely be due to the use of technology to emphasize methods such as rote memorization. However, EdTech is evolving to meet the needs of a more modern learning style: one that will equip both students and educators with skills they can use that will be enhanced, not replaced, by technology.
And schools are paying attention: according to Gartner, worldwide EdTech spending in 2016 is forecast to exceed $USD38.2 billion. The research firm notes that this is in part due to the trend of educators shifting their focus away from reducing costs and investing in technology as a means to boost “competitive advantage.”
Additional factors driving this change include the more future-forward approaches of using technology to facilitate learning on demand, and learning that requires collaboration and creativity.
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR FUTURE REQUIREMENTS
While traditional and modern learning are not always completely at odds with one another, learning on demand is a newer approach that requires active learning – which is more effective at helping students retain and use information. The same applies to activities that involve groups and creativity in the classroom.
In addition, although machines increasingly improve at a variety of tasks traditionally performed by people, collaboration and creativity are two areas algorithms have difficulty breaking into. This provides all the more reason to encourage students to pursue the enhancement of these skills.
Students, professionals and other learners are already taking advantage of on-demand education outside of the classroom to better equip themselves for the skills required in the current and future workplace. As far as the classroom goes, it too should facilitate such ends by being “…the place where students can learn how to work independently, as well as collaboratively, in an environment that is more flexible with the innovative integration of new technology and better opportunities for student/teacher/parent collaboration.”
Such an environment would help current and future students to support their communities and prepare for the future workplace in a variety of fields. Of course, when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) these concepts may be even more applicable.