Technology has long been changing the world and today’s society is shifting to become a Cyber Reality. The good news is that this shift to becoming a more digital focused society is reverberating back to the education sector. It is reshaping the curriculum and remodelling teaching.
From the blended learning approach to artificial intelligence (AI), several initiatives are currently deployed and underway in creating digitally capable schools that promote digital age learning across the continent. But how exactly is technology transforming education?
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to invest €5 billion (£4.4billion) to implement new technologies into schools. The new plan includes projects to be distributed via a centralised online portal. As online lessons, courses, and exams free up teachers, it enables them to take a more targeted approach in teaching pupils. Initiatives like the blended approach, now implemented in European schools to varying degrees, use videos and online platforms to enable students to learn at their own pace. Learning apps and supplementary mobile programs are also being used to give students access to information outside the classrooms.
Making it more accessible
Apple Solution Experts Education Programme Manager Tom Crump spoke to IT Pro Portal on the benefits of technology in the classroom, and said “[Embracing] technology is hugely beneficial for pupils who face challenges in their learning and enables the playing field to be levelled.” By providing in-school devices, educators hope to leverage technology in bridging the disparities in access to education. Save the Children report that children from low income families are 50% less likely to do well at school in comparison to their classmates. Giving them more access to tailored information and personalised coaching can greatly diminish this gap.
Highly customised applications are also bridging the gaps in special education. Technologies used for pupils with disabilities increase independence and allows them to learn without constant teacher involvement.
Increased collaboration and efficiency
The flurry of messaging apps and collaborative tools are also disrupting the education system. Platforms like GSuite that encourage teamwork while making room for individual growth and accountability are growing popular in schools. Using e-collaboration tools have been shown to reinforce students’ affinity to practical skills such as planning and project management.
On the other hand, experimental education tech like AI in education (AIEd) is set to increase efficiency in analysing school data, automating assessment tools, and personalising learning platforms. While NESTA reveals that AIEd remains underfunded by the UK government, it could radically change education for the better.
But not all use of tech is outright beneficial. The French government recently passed a law banning students’ mobile phones on school premises. This came as a result of a study by researchers from the London School of Economics, which concluded that banning mobile phones resulted in a 6.4% increase in standardised test scores.
A similar study done across Europe by consulting firm McKinsey showed the same results. But it adds that providing teachers access to technology rather than the students can have ten times more impact. Striking the right balance in deploying technological advances in teaching and learning is key to optimising its use.