Over the last couple of decades, the education sector has undergone significant changes due to new technology. One of the most important effects is that these tools can empower independent learners. This means that students across the planet can access meaningful learning experiences in line with their interests and personal and educational needs.
We will look at a handful of the key ways tech trends enable students to teach themselves. What tools are available, and what impact can these have?
The Power of Tech Trends
Developers and individuals are instrumental in finding fresh ways to utilize tools. As trends in tech grow, students benefit from innovations that are uncovered. Over the last few years, some critical educational technology trends have come to the fore. Computers and tablets have become commonplace in classrooms. Data analytics are used to measure performance and tailor the curriculum to meet needs.
As tech continues to improve education more generally, independent learners are establishing how they can best adopt these tools. As such, it’s not necessarily the technology trends in and of themselves that are most powerful for self-learning students. Instead, the key is how the tech is embraced and developed further.
One of the most significant elements of trending educational tech is online learning. This isn’t just a case of providing solutions during social distancing or improving access in underserved areas. Rather, there is a range of niche courses that students can connect with to bolster their self-driven learning.
This helps students overcome the limits of a traditional curriculum. If students want to teach themselves how to create websites focusing on solid user experience, they can take online UX courses with just a computer and an internet connection. In many cases, students still learn from qualified professionals and gain recognized certifications. Perhaps most importantly, this tech represents greater educational accessibility. Students can learn at their own pace and gain the knowledge they may not be able to in a traditional school environment.
Because tech tools can empower students to teach themselves, this doesn’t mean it has to be a solitary process. When collaboration is part of the learning process, students tend to have a richer and more compelling experience. It also helps them to build teamwork skills and forge relationships. This is why the trend for collaborative tech in education is so important right now.
The most prevalent example of this is current teleconferencing technology. Zoom and Skype are accessible and well-designed to support group learning sessions and remote projects. Peers can teach each other as well as learn independently. There’s also increasing usage of digital whiteboard software. This enables all collaborators to contribute to class project ideation and planning processes in a direct and meaningful way.
AR and VR
Over the last decade, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tools have become more practical and accessible. Students can utilize affordable tech through entry-level smartphones or projects like Google Cardboard. From a self-learning perspective, this provides students with an independent and immersive experience.
In some cases, this may improve students’ engagement with the technical subject matter. They’re learning in an active, gamified way that can be fun as well as educational. VR and AR can also contribute to less reliance on the traditional classroom environment, which some can find stifling or overwhelming.
When tech trends are embraced by self-learners, there are opportunities for tailored and robust educational experiences. Online courses improve access to niche subjects and specialist knowledge. Collaborative tools empower self-driven students to engage meaningfully with their peers. The continued rise of VR and AR provides immersive learning opportunities more aligned with students’ needs. As more new technology enters the educational sector, students can better connect to the education right for them.
Author: Sam Bowman