With all the technology being developed these days, it’s easy to imagine how this technology can transition into classrooms. But no, most classrooms are still the same as when we were kids, and even when our parents were in grade school.
Equipped with one or two blackboards or whiteboards, chairs with tables for students, some art on the wall, books on shelves and other whatnots found in common classrooms, could the lack of technological improvements in classrooms attribute to how poorly students are doing in today’s economy?
During The Next Web Conference Europe, Pearson Chief Digital Officer Juan Lopez-Valcarcel talked about how 46 percent on US college students do not graduate, and those that do, 40 percent are told that they do not have the right skills for a job they are applying for. this may be due to the fact that while tuition has increased by 70 percent in the last 10 years, the value of the degree has declined by 15 percent in the same time frame. But the biggest problem is, for in-demand jobs today and in the future, pertinent courses are not being offered in universities or colleges. For instance, if someone wants to be Data Scientist – you won’t find a school offering a course specific to that job.
So how can things change? How can technology help transform the state and quality of education?
7 technologies that could revolutionize education
- Invisible Computers
Though some schools are equipping students with tablets to facilitate their learning, the device still poses as a barrier as it could be a distraction for some students. And more problems occur when a tablet is left at home, misplaced or broken. What happens to students in this scenario? Lopez-Valcarcel proposes a future with invisible computers, where classroom objects, like a desk, will serve as a computer and all the data is available whenever needed. Teachers can give assignments to students and not worry about the student not being informed about it.
- Body Language Assessment
Today, some use analytics to predict how well a student will do in an exam based on previous tests or class participation. With that, the teacher can do something about it, like offer to tutor the student before the exam, so the student’s chance of failing is reduced.
In the future, Lopez-Valcarcel proposes that instructors use body language assessment to determine whether a student is able to follow the discussion. If a student is writing slowly, keeps wrinkling his forehead, stares blankly at the board – these may be signs that a student is struggling to understand, signs that a teacher needs to be aware of. By becoming aware, the teacher can stop and explain things further before going to a new topic or ending the discussion.
- Robot-Assisted Learning
Though some students curse their teachers, sometimes they still need help. Though Lopex-Valcarcel talked about an MIT project that equipped Ethiopian children with tablets and no instructions but they were able to learn on their own, not everything will come as easily. He made an example of Korea, where instead of hiring people to teach kindergarten students the English language, since there’s a scarcity in English teachers in Korea, classrooms were equipped with robots that facilitate assisted learning of the language. Why robots? Because kids respond better with robots than a tablet.
- Global Rockstar Teachers
Massively Online Open Courses seem to be a hot commodity these days. This allows you to take courses online and earn a degree online. Some courses just offer reading lists that you need to study and take an exam, while others have videos that students can download. What the future holds is an array of Global Rockstar Teachers – teachers that impart their knowledge online, either via live streaming or one on one sessions. This means that the best teachers will be available for anyone in the world, these teachers will no longer be confined in the top schools that are insanely hard to get in.
- Stealth Learning
Educational games are boring and they may soon go the way of the dinosaur. So how can you make learning more fun, or how can you use it as a tool to use for training and hiring? Make popular games more educational. Players won’t even have to know about it. Wouldn’t it be more fun to go to school and be asked by your teachers to play your favorite game for the whole period? At first you’d probably think there’s a catch, but haven’t you noticed how you retain more information about the things you like effortlessly? Perfect example, my little brother passed a test regarding Dante’s Inferno by playing the game on PS3.
- Social Learning
Almost everyone is on some kind of social platform. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+ and numerous others. Teens use these to communicate about anything that’s happening in various aspects of their lives. Some use social networks to ask their classmates if there are any assignments, or if they have any questions regarding a project. If educators could take social media a step further and use it to deliver educational material to students, it could help students engage and learn more.
- Open Hardware
There are many devices available for consumers these days and some are currently only available to developers. What if Google Glass was made available to students? Can they make something better for it, or with it? If students are given access to developer-aimed devices, could they possibly be the next big name in Silicon Valley?
Will technology teach or distract in the classroom?
But could these technologies really help in education or will they just cause more problems for students? Joining Kristin Feledy in this morning’s NewsDesk is NewsDesk Director Winston Edmondson to give his Breaking Analysis on whether technology is really something that schools need or if all these issues have a deeper root.
“The biggest barrier is actually the culture within a school district. Before I talk about invisible education, let’s talk about invisible administration. You can look at two examples like Lewisville Independent School District where they brought in Dr. Stephen Waddell who had as very open minded technology. He actually instituted changes that are embracing all these technology trends . So you’re seeing education actually changing before your eyes. So that’s probably the biggest barrier. You need to have an administration that’s willing have some of these exciting, yet disruptive, technologies,” Edmondson stated.
For more of Edmondson’s Breaking Analysis, check out the NewsDesk video below: