Technology in Education: What Does 2018 Have in Store?
The 21st century is an epoch of technology, and it is hardly possible to name any domain of human activity in which technology is not yet commonplace. Even students looking for experts to fulfill the “do my essays” job for them are doing that online, which was incredible even a decade ago. The change has also touched upon education – a traditional field of human upbringing and knowledge acquisition that used to take place through personal mentoring and face-to-face communication. However, now everything is done differently, and technology in education is pervasive and common; in the developed world, it is much more surprising to see technology absent in the educational classrooms and curriculum. So, where’s the introduction of technology in education moving and what does it have in store for students in 2018? Let’s cover the major trends and expected novelties in the field.
Educational Business Is Expected to Grow
At present, the education technology business is booming, and the trend is expected to continue in the near future. Thus far, the cumulative market share of ed-tech is over $8 billion, which shows that it is a highly promising and lucrative investment field. Thus, it is not surprising that many investors turn their attention to financing educational innovation, and more online learning and computer-aided instruction solutions are expected to enter the market in 2018.
This is a promising trend in financial terms, but its real-life feasibility and value for learners is still put in question. Many conservative representatives of academia, and some parents alike, voice skepticism regarding the comparative value of online learning and face-to-face learning. Indeed, there is still limited evidence of online learning’s effectiveness in terms of classical education. While some training courses for skill acquisition are popular and efficient for those wishing to acquire new skills or enhance their competence in some area, traditional secondary education is still considered better delivered by teachers in traditional classrooms. Who knows, maybe the introduction of conceptually new products in the ed-tech market in 2018 will change this opinion and prove the opposite?
Technology-enhanced Learning Is Becoming More Personalized
Technology is universal, and anybody can use it in some way to enhance knowledge. Traditional schools have also started to utilize many technological tools and techniques to enhance learning, but the problem initially was in the faceless, impersonal approach of online material. In the traditional classroom, every student could always expect a teacher to come up with individual feedback and comments, and could ask questions and get immediate answers to them. Transfer of studies online has changed the situation dramatically, with feedback and communication becoming much more delayed, asynchronous, and non-personal. However, creators of ed-tech products are dealing with this major pitfall of their solutions, and we can expect technological educational solutions to become more personalized in the near future. This is mostly achieved by creating individual learner profiles, an ability to select a personal learning path among a set of scenarios and options, and the transfer to competency-based progression instead of the “one size fits all” approach of earlier technological variants. Moreover, the creators of educational technology strive to giving students more flexible learning environments and structuring their learning process in such a way that it meets their personal educational goals.
1-to-1 Computing Is Gaining Popularity
While the initial structure of educational technology presupposed the production of one course or program and giving access to students to it for studies, the method was quite inefficient in terms of educational outcomes because students did not have any personalized feedback and did not have a tutor who would track their progress in real time. Now the situation is changing with the introduction of 1-to-1 computing method; it presupposes every student’s possession of a device on which he or she may study, thus guaranteeing personal access to more individualized content and lessons, ability to communicate with other students, and a chance to study at one’s own pace. This approach is also promising in terms of giving students the vital digital literacy skills without which they will hardly be able to compete at the national and international labor market. In addition to all these benefits, students are expected to be able to complete more complex and creative tasks because of full possession of a device that they can use for longer periods of time and concentrate on the work they do.
Educational Courses Are Here to Stay
The global success of such educational platforms as Coursera and Udacity has shown that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are in great demand nowadays. Though both of these providers have costly paid courses as well, their major source of popularity comes from free, universally accessible courses from the best experts in their fields. The advent of MOOCs has changed the world of online education by giving people access to free knowledge. This trend is developing further, and though paid courses are also on the rise and enjoy much popularity, free courses are also a revolutionary turn in educational technology.
As one can see, though many skeptics claim educational technology to have reached its limits, the observed trends indicate that it is here to stay for many coming years, and what is more – it is going to grow and develop further. The major benefits distinguishing ed-tech from other technological solutions in the market is that education is always needed, for children and adults alike, and education will exist and be needed as long as there are people. Hence, we should enjoy the benefits of technological progress and wait for more individualized, more efficient, and more flexible educational solutions that technology has in store for us in the coming year.