At the intersect between education and technology

How tech is disrupting education

The rapid evolution of technology has caused disruptions in most economic sectors over the last two decades. However, the education sector has been relatively less-affected by changing technologies, until fairly recently. Technology providers have made dramatic inroads into the education industry over the last few years. Many experts are of the view that the industry is at crossroads insofar as adoption of technology is concerned. The top five that they predict for the next few years are:

  • Use of augmented/ virtual reality: It is expected that education will become increasingly interactive, thanks to augmented and virtual reality. For instance, the history session at school need not remain confined to the classroom. They can, with the help of virtual reality apps, transport themselves to ancient Greece. It is estimated that active learning is fifty per cent more effective than the traditional classroom learning model of education. Given that the concept is still in its infancy, the real effects will only be known in the years to come.
  • Personalised learning: One of the greatest weaknesses of the traditional education system has been the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Across the world, educators have had limited success in tailoring the pedagogy to suit individual requirements of students- until now that is. Technology is enabling personalisation of education in a manner that was unimaginable even a few years ago.

Blended learning allows a combination of self-learning and instructions from a teacher, giving students a certain degree of control over the pace of learning as well as the learning path. Adaptive learning can similarly empower students by analysing user responses and adapting the learning experience based on it.

  • Real time feedback: The traditional system of evaluation involves end of semester or end of year examinations to verify learning outcomes, leaving little scope for mid-path correction. However, modern education technologies can map student progress in real-time, enabling timely intervention to assist students overcome areas of weakness.
  • Devices in the classroom: As the teaching/ learning experience increasingly becomes technology driven, it naturally follows that the devices such as laptops, tablets and other such gadgets will become an essential part of the learning experience. In fact, it is likely that those devices will figure prominently in the classroom in the years to come, due to the affordability provided by falling prices and student discounts.

The proliferation of such devices combined with online connectivity will empower students and teachers alike with information extending well beyond the traditional textbooks.

  • Transformation of learning spaces: The very concept of a learning space evokes images of a classroom with rows of desks and chairs facing the teacher. All that is rapidly transforming, as blackboards give way to smartboards and textbooks are replaced by smart devices as discussed above. Even more remarkable is the fact that learning spaces are no longer confined to the classroom or, for that matter, the premises of an educational institution. Online education using apps such as skype, or Google Hangouts is already a common phenomenon. Its only a matter of tie before colleges and universities cotton on to this trend.
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