Education, the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, habits etc is popularly said to be the key to success. Teaching, training, research, discussions are all educational methods which typically involve an educator and a learner. Traditionally, education is centred on sources such as schools, teachers and print media. The learners reach information sources by enrolling with schools, teachers and libraries.
Digital technology is the branch of scientific or engineering knowledge that deals with the creation and the practical use of digital or computerised devices, methods, systems etc. Digital technology has changed so many spheres of life by enabling easier accessibility, speed and new experiences. It is therefore not surprising that digital technology has been incoporated into education to give rise to the term “educational technology”.
Educational technology, EduTech or simply EdTech refers to any form of teaching and learning that makes use of technology. Centuries ago, the thought of technology would have seemed like a farfetched idea let alone educational technology. However, with the world we live in where technology is incorporated into every sphere of life, it has become impossible to separate technology from education, hence edutech. What then is the relationship between education and digital technology? What changes does digital technology bring to education?
- Online Classes and Programs: With the advent of the incorporation of digital technology into education comes a great availability of online schools and classes. “MOOC’s” otherwise known as Massive Open Online Courses are gaining popularity as they are free online classes . Online courses are making it possible for learners of varying ages to have easy access to a course or program from any location at any given time.
- Digitalized learning material: Edutech has facilitated a replacement of physical textbooks with iPads and various forms of devices connected to online media. With the fast-paced development of online media, e-books, e-readers, and learning programs and applications developed for iPhones, and smartphones, the textbook is becoming outdated in some areas.
- Mobile Learning: Learning has become mobile and is no longer restricted to a class room or infact any location. Studying can now be done on smartphones, iPads and various devices on the move. One can either listen to audio contents or simply read from devices using e-books. No matter where you are, learning is made possible.
- Collaboration amongst students: With edutech, student bodies can be made up of students from all over the globe, with every continent represented. Diverse student bodies also increase diversity in ways of thinking and contributions to class discussions and projects. Students can through online platform such as the Klasconnect app work together to exchange ideas and use these ideas to produce great results.
- Personalized teaching: Owing to the presence of technology in the classroom, teachers can now personalize lessons, instructions, and projects for each group or student by using devices and programs to distribute classwork and assignments. Individualized lessons can be provided to each student, and learning tools enable students to work, perform, and excel at their own pace. Teachers can also provide feedback, grades, and reports directly to students through online platforms, and online school portals one of such examples being Klasconnect.
- Data Driven Instructions and Results: Another change that comes with edutech is the increase in data-driven instruction and results. The use of online grading tools and devices, analysis tools are becoming more popular than the conventional way of grading students. These devices and grading tools can provide more accurate results regarding student performance and allow for ease in the grading process of students.
With the fast pace of technology in the world of today, it is evident that technology has come to stay and so has educational technology. How far then can technology change education?