This is an exciting time if you work in education or are a student. The wealth of new technologies available to universities is transforming the learning landscape. There are new and innovative ways to learn, a multitude of new resources and far better ways to access them. Even the design of universities is changing with technology inspired learning spaces and automated attendance monitoring being used.
Here, we’ll look at six emerging trends in education technology that are set to make a difference.
1. The use of gaming technology for deep learning.
Young people’s love of gaming technology makes it the ideal tool for immersive learning, enabling students to learn by doing in a safe, virtual environment. Its ability to provide multi-sensory experiences allows learners to work independently or in collaboration, applying newly acquired knowledge and making critical decisions without any real-world risk.
One example of where this is being used is as an online resource for forensic students. Here, learners use gaming to simulate carrying out the forensic assessments needed after a crime has been committed. The gaming environment provides realistic simulations that give students appropriately challenging opportunities to use classroom-taught skills in virtual-world practice.
2. Digital learning resources and assessments.
The days of learning by reading books and testing by writing papers are coming to an end. Developments in digital technology are enabling educators to provide a range of different learning opportunities. In particular, online environments are helping institutions to offer personalised learning, new ways to collaborate, and more innovative teaching methods.
Today’s students not only need to access digital content, they also need to be able to create it. Increasingly, teachers are seeing the benefits of letting students use digital media in their assignments as it enables the student to demonstrate their abilities and express their understanding through data visualization and dynamic storytelling. As a result, teachers are developing new ways to assess media-rich, academic assignments while providing the technology needed to create them.
3. The use of mobile technology.
Mobile technology is changing the face of the modern university as it enables students to learn in different ways, in different places and even at different times. And with the use of IoT, universities can track the use of mobile tech to analyse how learners use it and its impact on attainment. This allows its use as a learning tool to be improved in the future.
One of the benefits of mobile technology is that it enables learning to take place outside of the classroom. Students can work in areas that are better suited to their own needs, such as in a library or even at home. This can make it much easier to recruit students and staff who live further away, perhaps even abroad.
It also gives increased opportunity to collaborate. Collaborative projects can be stored centrally on the university’s system and accessed over the internet by the contributors. Any changes made are synchronized so that everyone has the latest updates and students can communicate with each other via a mobile app.
4. Developing hi-tech learning spaces.
The influx of new technologies mentioned above is having an impact on the ways in which students learn and this change in behavior is leading to new learning space design. Libraries, for example, are no longer just repositories for books, they are 21st Century learning centers that also provide digitized books, videos, presentations, podcasts, and have features such as writable surfaces, video editing software, and portable furniture.
With so much digital content available, there’s less need for students to access the library in person. This means students and teachers are increasingly wanting to connect the library’s facilities to classrooms and student accommodation.
5. Automated attendance monitoring.
If students can access learning from anywhere on campus and don’t need to be physically in a specific classroom to undertake their work, traditional ways of registering them will be difficult to maintain. This also poses a problem from a safeguarding perspective as its important to know who is on campus and where, in the event of an emergency.
The solution many institutions are turning to is smart card access control technology. Giving students RFID enabled smart cards, such as those supplied by Universal Smart Cards, enables students to be automatically registered as soon as they enter a building. All they need to do is tap or swipe their card on a reader placed near the entrance.
With readers linked to the university’s IT system, a student’s attendance and punctuality can be tracked and monitored and, should an emergency, such as a fire, take place, it is possible to tell whereabouts on the campus they are.
6. Artificial intelligence (AI).
Artificial intelligence is set to have an enormous impact on education. It has the potential to replace teachers for the delivery of some lessons and, if used to automate the marking of work, could dramatically cut down on workload. Unlike teachers, an AI system can also give unlimited students simultaneous one to one attention, helping deliver the ideal personalized education.
If this seems a little like sci-fi, you might be surprised that some of this technology is already in operation. The Cognii Virtual Learning Assistant, for example, uses AI, machine learning and natural language processing to provide one to one tutoring. When teaching a student about a concept, it is capable of conversing with them, asking and answering open questions, and giving instant feedback. It even evaluates the student’s work, providing accurate assessment data.
The pace of technological advancement in education is accelerating rapidly. This is changing the way students learn, replacing traditional teaching methods and resources with digital course materials and virtual gaming, and giving access to these via mobile devices. To cope with the changes, learning spaces are being redesigned and smart cards are being used to manage attendance. Perhaps the biggest change, however, is in the use of AI, where machines are now being programmed to teach humans.