A lot of people today complain about the state of public education. They are concerned that student outcomes are getting worse over time. Thankfully, there have been some major improvements in digital technology that have made education a lot more accessible and simpler than it used to be. This article discusses ways to get a quality education using technology.
Online schools have greatly expanded in size in the 21st Century. It is possible now to get a full quality education from the comfort of your home. This allows workers to prioritize their work life and reap the benefits of having more certifications in their chosen profession. Many major universities have caught onto the trend and offer very reputable programs entirely online. An early concern was the quality. Is an online degree really worth the same as a traditional degree? The fact that major universities like USC and Arizona State University agree with the concept helps alleviate that concern. It is important when considering an online program that the degree is highly accredited and that it is from an academic institution that employers like.
Open Source (News - Alert) Academic Content
Many textbooks are expensive. This is hard for low-income students, who must pay large amounts of fees to keep up with their classes. Many instructors and college boards are having compassion for this reality, and they are beginning to use open source academic content. It is now common to have class instructors referring students to free websites like YouTube (News - Alert) or Khan Academy to practice their homework. Some instructors prepare free material or even textbooks that all the students can use cheaply.
Suzanne, writing for Top Hat, notes the increasing popularity of adding game design methods to the classroom. This has really taken off with Khan Academy's free point system for completing videos. Some instructors are using this method as well. Having voting clickers for lecture questions increases audience enjoyment and retention of material. Gamification is a term that refers to adding game methods to a non-game context like work or school. Systems like Apache Kafka or Kafka on AWS (Amazon Web Services (News - Alert)) can be used to digitize connection of apps and tools used during a gamification process. Knowing what employees are achieving or scoring is made easier this way.
Remote laboratories, like a business conference, allow students to learn concepts that are hard to learn outside of the lab. The Australian Engineering Institute of Technology has a good setup for classrooms wishing to start a remote laboratory. Giving students and teachers the flexibility to learn concepts without actually having to attend the lab can save time and money. Sometimes, being present in the lab is useful, but at other times, it is optional. Students can do their homework while watching the demonstration at home.
Smartphones and Tablets
In the past 10 years, smartphones have gone from almost science fiction to an essential communication tool that most people have or want. Smartphones and their larger cousin, tablets, make it easier to do computer and Internet tasks while on the go. This is very helpful in an educational context. Students can learn about a subject while riding on the bus. Many teachers are using school applications to host their classes. Learning is not as compartmentalized as in the past. A fun educational trick that smartphones can be used to help with is a 3D hologram projector.
There are lots of great technologies that researchers are developing to make classrooms more interesting. Sometimes, it takes a while for new innovations to get into traditional education institutions. However, many tools that were only recently invented have become commonplace at major colleges. Soon, public schools with lower amounts of funding might see technology improvements as well.