The New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon report of 2015, while showing projections on the year’s new K-12 technologies, opened with a quote by science fiction author William Gibson; “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
This is indeed true in the field of education, as advanced technologies of tomorrow are being used in many schools and institutions across the world, but they are yet to be accepted on a wider scale. Many new technologies, like wearables, for instance, play an important role in transforming classroom learning experience these days, but has it become mainstream?
Not yet, but we’re getting there. It is, of course, the latest trends in the industry today, that become ways of life tomorrow.
The report intends to throw light on some of the major technology trends shaping the educational sector, and guides decision-makers of educational technology, in making their way through the complex and dynamic environment.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of these major technological trends in education today.
Many education experts second the chances of automation becoming an essential aspect of content creation for teaching as well as processing. Content providers are likely to use improved automated solutions for creating new courses and content for learning materials, which would result in immense saving of time and efforts involved in conventional processes. Coursework routines, like tests and exercises, can all be created automatically with the help of tools that can scan the course content and identify the important elements that need to be tested. Courses can also be optimized according to the requirements of different users and their skills and knowledge level. Algorithmic solutions will be used by different automation tools in offering personalized course content.
The traditional method of learning involved students going to classrooms and attending lectures after which they return home to complete exercises and assignments related to the day’s lessons. Even though this model of learning has been proved to be super successful and has served generations of students pretty well, education experts think it’s time to move to a more advanced mode of education, involving collaboration and hands-on learning: flipped learning.
Instead of completing assignments at home, students in a flipped classroom would spend their time learning the next day’s lessons and listening to prerecorded lectures online. In school the next day, they would do exercises that would have been considered as homework traditionally. As a result, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a collaborative space where they can get consistent feedback and guidance from their teachers. It would also allow teachers to conduct more innovative in-class activities that would encourage interaction between the students.
Augmented reality devices, like the Apple watch and Google glass, are already being used in a number of industries and undoubtedly, they will become common elements of our daily lives in 2016. The education industry is one of the biggest gainers of augmented reality in terms of offering adaptive learning environments to the users. Experts say that the market for augmented reality is likely to reach a whopping 200 million users in just 3 years. With augmented reality, learners will be able to access environments with action-based functionalities in real life using GPS tracking facilities, engaging them in more interactive learning experiences. Devices like the Oculus Rift can also help in developing interactive courses.
Experts have been advocating the benefits of applying game dynamics onto non-gaming contexts and motivating people to achieve their goals for a long time. Unfortunately, decision makers in the education industry have always been skeptical about it. But the good news is, it’s slowly making its way into the industry now. With gamification, user engagement can be improved by a large margin with the help of learning materials. Experts say that integrating gamification with education can boost learners’ motivation by up to a 90% recall rate. It’s an obvious benefit as the more the learners assume active roles in knowledge reception, the more they feel part of the learning environment which automatically improves their chances of remembering it.
Personalization has been an ongoing trend in the education industry for quite some time and it is more of an implication of the other trends. With 2016, the growth of personalization will increase across all levels of learning. With the help of big data and insights derived from it, learning will become more personal than ever, carefully addressing the requirements of each individual rather than groups. All elements in learning, from learning materials and learning tools to learning environments and course program, will be tailor-made to suit each individual, engaging them and motivating them to achieve best results in short time frames.
It is pretty evident that the year 2016 will be all about personalization and improving learners’ interests, allowing them to choose their own paths and adjusting their course timings. In many ways, it will be a revolutionary period as well, as it is likely to change our approach towards learning and education on the whole.
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