Education has evolved. Where once colleges and universities focused on a standard method of teaching, technology has allowed schools to develop methods which has changed the way we view education, allowing students who would have once been easily left behind to a place where the classroom is tailored to identify the individual needs of every student. So how has technology changed the format of the classroom? Let’s take a closer look:
Digital Textbooks & Resource Materials
Prior to the digital age, textbooks where one of the most expensive education expenses right behind tuition, even at points totaling close to 42% of the annual education costs for students. In addition, textbooks were often used for longer periods of time, even when the information contained in them was no longer accurate or relevant. The introduction of eBooks was a gradual one, but students are reaping their rich rewards. When created in the digital form, a textbook is easier to edit, easier to distribute and comes as a much lower cost to the student. Quick editing and distribution times allows for the course material to be of the utmost relevance with little to no errors of important facts and information needed for the success of your future career.
Mobile Technology isn’t something that could necessarily be defined as brand new, but the way that colleges and universities are using it is. Mobile Technology is bringing the classroom and student together on and off the campus, anytime day or night. Nearly every top higher education provider allows their students to gain access to their classroom materials, school news and announcements and even forums where students can ask questions or converse with their fellow peers and instructors straight from their iPhone or Android powered device. Gone are the days when poor communication between faculty, students and advisors created a whirlwind of headaches and stress.
Need-Based Training & Learning Analytics
Learning Analytics is a tool used by educators to interpret a large amount of data in order to assess academic progress, predict future performance and is used to spot results which may become potential issues. The benefit of using this technology is that it allows the educator to immediately identify the issue, making for a quick response when more practice and teaching may be necessary. Oftentimes, students will find this feature in the form on an online test which will take them through a series of questions to identify areas of weakness. These tests allow for the instructor to evaluate the subjects of study he will need to focus on in class or the test will guide the student to tutorials which will guide them through the subjects they are struggling with the most.
Cloud-Based Computing & Collaboration
The easiest way to understand cloud technology is to start with the basics. Prior to cloud-based services, all of your data (images, music, documents, etc.) was stored on a physical memory device (i.e. Floppy Disk, CD). “The Cloud” simply refers to the Internet — information and data sent out and stored over the Internet. While you may not have your data on some sort of physical memory device, your data is being stored on someone’s server. Let’s use Google as an example, Google Drive is a service provide by Google where users can create documents, PowerPoint presentations and make numerous other creations at no cost. Users can even store their files on Google Drive. The added benefit is that all of the files contained on your Drive our accessible from any Internet connected device at anytime.
For the classroom, the cloud has provided a place where students can collaborate in real time. Documents can be created, shared via a link and students can make changes straight from their internet browser while the collaborators are able to view every letter they type as they type it.
Todd Garner is a freelance writer based in the San Francisco bay area. His writing focuses on business, health, education and career related issues. He is currently writing for Online Schools Network, a site that helps prospective students find the right online college.