It’s hard to keep up with an industry that is reaching new levels every day. The booming ed-tech industry raked in $8.38 billion in the 2012-13 academic year according to the most recent study done by the Education Technology Industry Network. That’s a $480 million increase from the year before and an 11.7 percent increase from 2009.
That number is expected to keep growing as more schools and teachers are starting to implement technology into their curriculum. “Public schools in the United States now provide at least one computer for every five students and spend more than $3 billion per year on digital content,” according to Education Week.
Technology is changing every day and with that comes changes to the way that we learn. Don’t stay out of the loop, get in. Check out five ways schools are adapting to a technological world.
1. 1-to-1 Computing
Schools purchased more than 25 million devices for classroom use in 2013 and 2014 putting iPads and Chromebooks into the hands of students nationwide. Applying 1-to-1 computing initiatives would allow teachers and software companies to deliver more personalized content and lessons to students. 1-to-1 computing also would help students become technologically skilled and literate and thus better prepared for modern workplaces. Allowing students to use digital and online applications and tools would empower them to do more complex and creative work.
2. Personalized Learning
Most schools are providing computing devices for those who don’t have their own. The implementation of management systems, student information systems, and other software used to distribute assignments and track student progress, could allow personalized learning to become the best way for students to learn in the classroom. Educational software and applications are growing more adaptive, relying on technology and algorithms to determine what a student knows. This includes what his or her learning process is, and even his or her emotional state. This allows students to learn at any time that they want wherever they want. This makes it possible for students to learn at their own pace. Personalized learning would allow students to tailor their curriculum and learning environments in order to meet their different learning needs and aspirations.
3. Online Test Taking
“The 2015 to 2016 school year will be the first in which more state-required accumulative assessments in U.S. middle and elementary schools will be delivered via technology rather than paper and pencil,” according to a recent analysis by EdTech Strategies. The inclusion of technologically enhanced formative assessments will allow schools to provide timely and actionable feedback about student learning and diagnose their abilities in real time. Online test taking will save schools money, make administration and analysis easier, and potentially employ complex performance tasks.
4. Real Time Analysis
Using the data collected from educational software and technologically enhanced formative assessments has the potential to tackle one of the biggest challenges in education – adapting teaching strategies and course materials to suit the learning styles and skill levels of the learner. Companies like LEAP Innovations, are starting to reinvent America’s one-size-fits-all education system by transforming how students are learning. By using data to adapt education to individual students, schools would be able to place students in classrooms based on their skill level instead of their age. With real time analysis educators and schools would be able to see what is really working and what is not.
5. Discussion Pools
With mostly everyone using some form of social media, it’s no surprise that teachers are too. Hashtags about education are becoming popular on Twitter and anybody can join the discussion by just adding one to their tweet. For example, #EdChat, a weekly education discussion on Twitter, boasts over 500 weekly participants and over 1000 educators and administrators worldwide have contributed to the discussion. Discussion pools are an incredible collaborative tool for educators and can be used to debate and evaluate solutions to various problems.