Technology makes life easier. That’s a statement that is true for almost any operation you can think of. The sole purpose of merging a piece of technology with a task is to streamline it. Make it faster. Lessen the energy expended. Create sustainable living. One sector which has seen the benefits of fusing technology is education and here we explore the ways in which technology has enhanced the learning experience.
1. Cloud Computing
Generally described as a way to share resources over the internet, cloud computing has proved to have immense value in the education sector as a tool for collaboration. Imagine teachers with great ideas on how to enrich the learning experience of students being able to implement those ideas in a cloud based platform accessible to all.
That is exactly what the Electronic Learning Organizer (ELO), a language teaching cloud project in Brazil, has been able to accomplish. The project allows teachers to go online and create learning objects and highly interactive exercises from which students can be engaged in an intellectual and entertaining way that leads to an even better understanding of the subject matter.
Cloud computing creates an environment where students and teachers can interact with shared learning materials and because these materials are created by the community, they are refined and personalized to improve the learning progress of that community.
2. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
MOOC’s are geared towards online learning mainly through video lectures with participation through user forums being a central part of the learning process. The MOOC as a mode of learning rose in popularity in 2012 and although that has diminished quite a bit since, it’s impact on the education sector is still noticeable with renowned universities such as Stanford University having adopted the medium.
Courses such as an online doctor of education degree help educators learn new theories on education which they can then apply to their schools or organizations. Similar to the online doctor of education is the higher education leadership degree which confers much of the same benefits to educators while enabling them to navigate higher education organizational structures. The MOOC model is able to reach more people at a fraction of the cost of normal tuition fees and therein lies its main advantage.
3. Mobile Learning
The ubiquity of mobile devices makes it easy for schools to adopt it as a learning method. Behind games and business apps, educational apps are the most downloaded app category in the apple app store.
An example of the power of these diminutive devices was evident in North Carolina after students posted test scores 10 percent higher than the state average in Geometry and Algebra II while also posting scores 20 percent higher than the state average in Algebra I. This was attributed to their use of internet access and enhanced math learning tools. Students reported this method as being more engaging and the information gained being easier to retain. Mobile learning has a lot of potential – there are approximately 2 billion smartphone users which makes for a truly global outreach.
4. Game Based Learning
Game based learning integrates gaming into the learning environment, helping students grasp concepts in a fun and engaging way. SimArchitect, for example, is a simulation game whereby students have to communicate with fictional clients and reach certain architectural goals set by the client. Such games are not only enjoyable but also evaluate the student’s communication skills and architectural know-how.
As a tool to enhance learning, technology is yet to realise its full potential which means there’s a lot more to come. Already the nascent technology of virtual reality is coming to play in the education sector mostly in the hard sciences – anatomy, biology, astronomy and geology. Technology will transform the way we learn forever and for the better.