When it comes to education, online learning has become an increasingly popular choice for many students. Between the demands of family, work, and extracurricular activities, college and university students today are tasked with more than just earning a degree. Online classes provide the flexibility students need to juggle multiple commitments while furthering their education.
It’s generally accepted that as technology moves into classrooms, teachers will move, as the saying goes, “from a sage on the stage to a guide on side.” That shift has rightly troubled teachers and teaching advocates who fear that educators who instruct, analyze and provide vital context will be diminished or co-opted outright by soulless, algorithm-driven tech.
This year’s edition lays out the trends and challenges facing higher education globally in adopting education technologies and creating new ones that support broader improvements in learning and student success. On the short-term horizon: analytics technologies and new learning spaces. Already in demand, they will grow even more prevalent in the next couple of years as academe increasingly focuses on measuring what students are learning and providing them with new educational experiences, such as active-learning classrooms and makerspaces.
When it comes to education technology, it can be hard for higher-education leaders to separate fads from paradigm shifts: MOOCs rose and fell, but learning analytics are now a part of campus life. Each year the “NMC Horizon Report,” a blend of prognostication and analysis by a panel of experts, tries to sort it all out.
Amesite, an AI software company, can spot when a student is most efficient studying for their exams, and then send a notification alerting them when the best time to study is. The company’s CEO, Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, said the software is “delivering information that helps the experience be better and helps the education be more effective.”
To help community colleges make technology upgrades that will help them deliver cybersecurity education, the U.S. Department of Education has been allotted $1 million in an omnibus spending law, H.R. 1625, approved by Congress earlier this year.
Rachel Stickland’s two children have been the victims of data breaches -- not once, but twice. Last year, their information was stolen when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was hacked. One month later, it happened again when the education technology platform Edmodo was penetrated. Stickland was particularly upset about the Edmodo incident because she found out about it from a news report, rather than from the company or her children’s school.
There is an emergence of educational organizations that are addressing this problem by reaching girls from a very young age. Platforms like Girls Who Code, Girls Learning Code, and Kode With Klossy offer girls in K-12 the opportunity to learn how to code while receiving mentorship from female leaders in technology. These programs have already reached hundreds of thousands of girls in North America alone.
For teachers with the latest smartboard or new Chromebooks for students, installing the technology is not the end of the process, it’s the very beginning. Once the classroom is connected, it can be difficult to determine how best to integrate these new tools into daily classroom activities.
While the debate regarding how much screen time is appropriate for children rages on among educators, psychologists, and parents, it’s another emerging technology in the form of artificial intelligence and machine learning that is beginning to alter education tools and institutions and changing what the future might look like in education.