When most people think back to their favorite teachers, they’ll likely remember their teaching styles. There is no single way to teach a subject. Most outstanding educators know that and adjust their approaches depending on their strengths or the needs of their students.
Similarly, people have different learning styles. Some can comprehend information best by hearing it, but others have more success in remembering the material when they read it or do hands-on activities that supplement the new concepts. Educational technology has benefits to suit everyone, depending on its application and the situation.
What Is Educational Technology?
Educational technology involves integrating tech tools into the classroom to assist teachers and students. For example, students might submit their assignments electronically, sending them to the cloud so educators can access them later. A teacher might use a text messaging system to communicate with parents and rely on an app that automatically translates the content into other languages when needed.
1. Virtual Reality to Help Cultivate Curiosity
It’s not always easy to get learners interested in subjects by merely reading about things in a book. However, The New York Times created several short virtual reality (VR) lessons that can easily fit into an existing lesson plan. Students can explore Pluto or take a trip to a place in Ethiopia that’s the hottest in the world.
One of the positive effects of educational technology is that it makes learning fun. It’s not hard to imagine how that’s true with VR. People can feel transported to faraway places that they likely couldn’t experience without it.
2. Machine Learning to Make Schools More Effective
Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), with algorithms that get smarter over time without ongoing programming to bring about those improvements. So, machine learning is one of the types of educational technology that could spark various benefits, even though it may work in the background.
Some of the current applications of machine learning in the classroom include using it to improve retention rates by identifying at-risk students who may drop out or depending on it to track students’ progress over time and determine how they’re doing compared to peers. There are also efforts to group students and teachers based on the experience possessed by specific educators that could cater to different needs.
Professionals ranging from doctors to human resources recruiters use machine learning to improve their work output. It’s already evident, even in these early stages, that machine learning can assist teachers and students too.
3. Virtual Classrooms to Promote Learning From Anywhere
It’s not always possible for people to travel to traditional classrooms to learn. They might have health issues or unreliable transportation. No matter the specifics, virtual classes can help people learn from anywhere with an internet connection.
People can engage in live chats about the material or respond to polls in real-time. Virtual classrooms can also bring learners from different countries together, allowing everyone to benefit from varied perspectives and opinions.
4. Social Media to Facilitate Connection
Social media can have a bad reputation for exacerbating issues like cyberbullying and low self-esteem. However, in the supervised environment of a classroom, social media platforms can help learners and educators stay connected to what matters.
For example, a teacher might post homework assignments in a private Facebook group because she knows her students are more likely to read a social media notification than an email. Students could show off examples of their work, such as pictures of sculptures made in an art class or snippets of poetry written in an English course, on a social media feed that’s specific to the school.
Instead of seeing social media as something that’s distracting in every circumstance, teachers must realize that their learners are almost certainly already familiar with it and appreciate using it. If they know and love the technology, why not use that familiarity as an advantage in a formal learning environment?
5. Apps Help Students Retain Information
Apps exist for almost every need imaginable. There are apps that help students study for math tests, practice spelling and much more. Some even include elements of augmented reality (AR), enabling students to blend the real and virtual worlds. Many of the apps send push notifications that remind students to study subjects in short spurts throughout the day rather than longer sessions that could feel draining.
Educational apps add another dimension to the learning process that could help students stay engaged, thereby increasing the likelihood that they won’t forget crucial information or view it as irrelevant to their lives.
An Exciting Future Filled With Opportunities to Learn
These five types of educational technology are by no means the only options, but they are among the most common possibilities used today. They all illustrate how new methods of learning are much different than the ones relied on in the past.
Older options like textbooks still suffice in some instances, but the modern classroom is becoming more tech-centric, and that trend should continue to gain momentum.
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