Education as we know it is changing. Our parents would say the same thing when comparing their school years with ours. Students in the U.S. return to school this month, and they’re bringing with them technology devices and social-media tools that are swiftly transforming online education and classroom interaction. It will not be long till these reach our own and all developed countries of the world.
The use of laptops, iPads, PC tablets and Web-enabled smart phones are all playing a part in how technology is enhancing education. Students most likely to succeed in today’s learning environment are familiar with social media, can understand various computer and mobile apps and have high levels of computer literacy.
Below are a number of ways in which technology is improving the quality and accessibility of education in America:
Class Curricula via Tablets
Increasingly, educational publishers are making textbook materials available to students in digital form via tablet computers rather than hard-copy textbooks. This allows publishers to work with multi-view applications for teaching subjects, as opposed to the flat, one-page look in textbooks. Also, students save money and future back issues by spending less on textbooks and no longer have to lug them around campus. And think of the trees!
Even smart phones have the capability to enhance students’ educations the same way tablets do. Mobile phones continue to evolve. With many of the same apps that tablets have, smart phones can be used to download documents, books and video conferencing through apps like Skype. If your kid, or kids, relies on a mobile device for education needs, it is important to protect it from breaking. You can buy cell phone cases online at www.wirelessemporium.com, or any other site selling mobile-device protection.
Online Education Methods
Online education is booming, and the rise of technology devices in young peoples’ hands is certainly a factor in its growth. The 2011 Survey of Online Learning from the Sloan Consortium showed there are now more than six million students who have taken at least one online course; And nearly one-third of all students in higher education have done so as well.
No longer do students in online education programs sit at a computer and follow a syllabus as they work independently. Now, online students are more engaged, and can interact with teachers and other students. The Internet connects students and teachers in real time, allowing them to chat live in person to person interactions and communicate as they would in a traditional classroom. Video chat allows teachers to see their students to help guide them with visual tools to understand difficult concepts.
Twitter for Digital Learning
The huge popularity of Twitter has not gone unnoticed in education circles. With Twitter, students can engage in real-time conversations, ask questions and even continue the discussion outside of the class. Professors now use Twitter to link to class archive notes and test study questions via Twitter hashtags. It’s the best possible combinations of social media and online education.
The extent of eBooks in education is so great that there are now more than five million eBooks available for free to students. Having access to reading and study materials via large e-library collections is another technological innovation likely unforeseen a decade ago.
PC Magazine recently asked “Can technology fix education?”, offering insights on whether higher education was using new technology effectively. If you asked today’s students, they would most likely answer yes.