Not an industry exists that will not be or hasn’t already been affected by technological advancements. These rapid changes mean students need to be fully armed with the skills necessary to adapt to the workforce of the future. The education sector, just like other industries, is embracing advances in Cloud Computing, Mobile Technology, and Artificial Intelligence to improve their operational practices and efficiency. Students are fast swapping traditional books for computer tablets and getting the opportunity to experience virtual classrooms. While enabling students the opportunity for experience with these innovative technologies within the classroom is important solely from an educational point of view, schools and colleges are feeling added pressure to adopt. Competition to enroll students between various learning institutions is increasing; therefore, they need to embrace modern technology to stay relevant. These technologies are going mainstream in the very near future, as such, students demand access now. As the next wave of digitization strikes, expect major technologies, to continue to shape the future of the education sector.
Cloud computing and education
Cloud computing is a revolutionary development in the field of education. It offers a range of benefits to everyone from teachers and students to educational institutions in the education industry. Cloud technology in this sector is already valued at $8.13 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $25.36 billion by 2021.
Today, about 70 percent of higher education institutions in North America have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, cloud technology to enhance the sharing of information across campus or across the world.
One Key development in the cloud computing space is the advancement of virtual classrooms. Virtual cloud classrooms offer educators with a paper-free way to conduct a class or course, distribute learning materials, assignments and track student participation and progress remotely from a computer, tablet or smartphone.
As well as providing this flexibility and convenience, the cloud creates new opportunities for teams to work on the same projects as never before. An example, using applications such as Google Docs, enables multiple users the ability to work together from either the same classroom or located on opposite sides of the world. This opens students up to the capability to experience different countries and cultures, fostering a more immersive, innovative, and globally connected classroom.
With the introduction of AV (audio-visual) technology existing via the cloud, teachers can interact with colleagues around the world too. This allows guest lecturers or experts on particular topics to attend classrooms for Q&A sessions. In additions, tours can be organized in distant locations or locally, without the need to leave the classroom.
To give you an idea of the potential financial benefit, the costs of resources such as textbooks, for example, at the college and university level, have even outpaced tuition fees in some cases, putting many financially-struggling students in a tight spot. Cloud technology enables educational institutes to store all their learning material in the cloud. This allows on-demand access by students and administrative personnel quickly and economically. Thus, it not only saves time but also reduces the price of study materials.
Further, cloud technology enables institutions to have easy access to updated cloud-based learning materials. Since cloud-based Internet applications can run on even the cheapest smartphone or computer with an internet connection, it eliminates the need to buy or upgrade hardware, including storage devices needed to access the latest learning material.
Mobile technology and education
From entertainment and communication to learning, mobile technology has completely dominated our lives. Mobile learning has become pivotal in addressing many long-standing educational challenges by personalizing and accelerating learning experiences.
According to a recent study, 86 percent of college students have a smartphone, and nearly 47 percent of the population owns a tablet. Moreover, 50 percent of students use mobile devices for daily school work. Students use mobile devices for a wide range of educational activities, like registering for courses, reading e-texts, checking grades, and a lot more. The majority of students leverage mobile technology to communicate with other students about class-related matters outside class sessions.
Another study has shown that over 90 percent of students use their smartphones while in the classroom. Many higher education institutions have found effective ways to harness these habits and are now using mobile technology to improve the learning experience. For example, in the United States, Purdue University launched the Hotseat app — it allows students to provide real-time feedback during a lesson, making class sessions engaging.
There are a considerable number of educational apps that make learning truly interesting and fun for students. Learners can choose any format of study material, such as videos, presentations, and even game-like learning apps depending on their preferences.
AI (Artificial intelligence) and education
Artificial intelligence has already paved its way out of science fiction movies to real life. Its applications are limitless, ranging from speech processing to machine learning and beyond. In fact, education is one of the spheres most influenced in the last few decades by advanced technological aspects introduced by AI (Artificial Intelligence).
We all use tools like Amazon’s Alexa and Siri for performing education-related activities. This means we are already using AI in education. The AI market in the United States’ Education Sector 2017-2021 report found that AI in education will grow by 47.50 percent during that period.
AI-aided educational technology helps teachers comprehend the learning curve in ways that are much better than ever before. They can understand and explain concepts in a much better way using AI-enabled Edu-Bots in a classroom setting. In-depth lessons can easily be imparted through the core AI functions.
Such robotic innovations have made it possible for students with learning difficulties to attain mainstream education. In the future, we can see innovations such as automatic grading and automation of many other administrative tasks, allowing teachers more time to actually teach. Differentiated and personalized lessons adjusted based on student’s needs. AI will be able to identify weaknesses in the classroom, that is impossible for teachers who are managing up to 30 students in their class is another welcomed benefit of AI.
The future of technology in education will be bright because everyone from administrative personnel to students, along with everyone in between, is enjoying it. We already use many technological innovations in learning. The education sector will need to keep evolving as a result of technology advancements, to best prepare the next generation for the new era of digitization.