Digital technology is transforming the modern education sector. In the last ten years, students in universities and colleges have gone from handing in paper essays to uploading them to e-learning platforms.
Students in primary schools are using tablets for classwork and homework. Pupils are designing objects using CAD and printing them with 3D printers. Parents don't have to wait for their children to come home with notes from the teacher; they are posted on hybrid cloud-based platforms that serve as connectivity hubs between parents, teachers and students. These are just a few examples of how technology has changed education. Let's take a closer look at the EdTech software world.
How has technology improved education
The positive role of technology in education is immense. Research that was once purely done in libraries, searching for dusty books, is now conducted online. PDF journals and eBooks are downloaded to laptops, tablets, eReaders and smartphones. Class notes are recorded, downloaded and noted on a laptop, not on paper.
E-learning technology has taken a considerable leap forward in the last ten years. External forces, such as societies demand for apps and social media, have impacted how and when students across every age group study, interact with teachers and other students, and how teachers set, receive and mark work.
Learning new skills, or learning for fun is now possible outside of traditional learning environments. Thanks to the Internet, the emergence of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), such as Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, edX, FutureLearn and many others, means that anyone can study almost anything. Many of these courses are online versions of popular ones from universities and colleges. Others are created for an online audience. Some charge. Many are free. There are far fewer restrictions on education than at any point in human history.
People can learn anything they want, either for free or a relatively small fee, compared to the cost of a formal education. From coding and computer engineering to maths, accountancy, and languages - there are dozens of apps and platforms that teach new skills and languages, either connecting them to tutors, or online resources, or a mix of the two, in new and creative ways.
Related read: How Learning Software Improves Education
The use of technology in education
Technology and education go perfectly well together providing exciting opportunities for learning and teaching. Here are a few examples of innovative e-learning solutions that are transforming how students learn new languages and skills.
1. Live The Lingo
Learning English is not easy. Especially if you've come to an English-speaking country, and knowing the language and various colloquialisms is essential for your career or studies, you could struggle without some assistance. Traditionally, students new to countries such as the UK or Ireland, would need to find tutors in language colleges, or university notice boards.
Live the Lingo, created by an Irish-owned company, is a platform that helps students connect with tutors (often other students), schedule a lesson, perform live video calls and pay for lessons. Everyone benefits, and these calls can be done on any device, making it easier for tutors and students to learn the language from any location.
2. STAV Online
STAV Online is a platform designed to make it easier and more fun for Danish children - native-born and international students - to learn the language and grammar. STAV Online is an interactive e-learning platform that fuses progressive educational practices with modern web technologies and makes learning Danish efficient and fun, with gamification built into the design and user experience.
With a points-based system, a leaderboard and badges to earn, students in primary schools will compete to win prizes and points. All of this supports the work of teachers, making their workloads easier as they can simply set a task on the app and let students learn in the classroom or at home (it is designed for PCs and tablets).
Read a detailed case study about this project here: STAV Online
PrepJetPrepJet is a continuing learning platform for those who are studying to pass mental health licensing exams in California. Studying for these exams often involves a lot of field work, with little or no supervision time, which makes it difficult to visit patients, undergo therapy and conduct practical studies carrying around a lot of files and folders.
PrepJet simplifies this process, putting everything a student will need in the cloud. It is a powerful e-learning application that streamlines the EPPP & California MFT Licensing Exam Prep, including Law & Ethics and MFT Clinical courses.
Related read: Top Trends in Educational Technology
All three are great examples - amongst hundreds - of e-learning platforms and applications that are transforming traditional processes and ways of learning. Even if what people are learning is changing at a much slower pace, the technology now exists that breaks down barriers, makes education more accessible and encourages many more to learn new subjects and skills.