Since 2019, the role of technology has extended beyond online learning. Universities faced numerous challenges from ensuring students’ access to remote education to equipping them with the digital skills needed for the post-pandemic employment market. COVID-19 forced people working in the educational domain to speed up digital transformation.
Tech transformation in education
Technology has become a major tool in terms of pedagogical resources. It promotes the active engagement of students with the learning material. Since technology is interactive, students gain skills and knowledge by doing, researching and receiving instant feedback. For example, they may study geography using Google Earth instead of just looking at pictures.
What’s more, simulation tools used in the classroom help to organize activities that otherwise would be impossible to do. For instance, with the help of simulation software, learners can see how a tornado develops or how the planets move. Similar features are offered by modeling software. They allow students to see the dynamic characteristics of models instead of static ones.
Technology is transforming the way students think. Most technology-focused activities require decent critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, so students have no choice but to develop them. Those skills are vital for success in today’s world, so it’s definitely a great advantage of digital transformation.
Additionally, technology makes student teamwork much easier. Education based on active use of technology is not about students learning by themselves, staring at a book. In contrast, it promotes working in groups. Tech tools foster team activities, discussions, and debates.
There are also a lot of online services helping students deal with their studies. For example, automated plagiarism checkers detect unintentional plagiarism in papers, while citation generators create dozens of references within just a few minutes. Those students who are overloaded with assignments and wondering “Who can do my coursework for me?” can get help from special web platforms. Some websites offer the services of academic writers who can complete any type of homework in almost any discipline. So students can get great support in the online world.
Emerging technology trends
Let’s have a closer look at the trends used in higher education.
Today artificial intelligence or AI appears everywhere in higher education. It’s used in management and student information systems, grading, library services and disability support. These days universities rethink curriculums in a way that supports so-called Generation AI. For example, the University of British Columbia uses an AI-enabled avatar that gives natural responses to students who practice speaking. Meanwhile, professors from the Pennsylvania State University analyze transcripts of classes with the help of AI in order to find patterns that can improve their teaching.
All educational institutions, including universities and colleges, are collecting huge amounts of data. But not all educators can interpret this data to enhance learning outcomes. To solve this problem, the University of Wisconsin – Madison has developed a special program for students called a Master of Science in Educational Psychology: Learning Analytics. It is aimed at teaching students how to navigate educational data. What’s more, Colorado State University opened a research center where scientists work on testing and advancing the use of analytics in the educational domain. In one of the recent projects at this center, they used data visualization to help learners optimize their study habits and patterns.
Blended and hybrid courses
Can you imagine that Northeastern University spent millions on adapting 200 classrooms for hybrid learning? This huge amount of money was allocated by university leaders as they are sure that the hybrid model will gain more and more popularity in the following years. By the way, the University of British Columbia found a very creative way of adopting the hybrid model. They did it in the theater! Educators staged a play where actors from Tokyo and San Francisco merged with each other in a virtual environment.
Open educational resources
Thanks to modern technologies, there are a lot of learning and research materials that are free for everybody to access. A great example of that can be an open-source 3-dimensional data visualization of the metabolic network created by the University of British Columbia. Its lab-developed materials that can be used not only by medical schools but also by any student interested in that field.
Technology benefits students in multiple ways. It helps them become more passionate about what they are learning and study more efficiently. By using AI tools, data analytics, hybrid course models and open educational resources, higher education is making a huge step into the future.
Robert Everett is a study coach and high-school teacher. He is a big fan of technology, so he does his best to incorporate tech tools into the educational process as much as possible. Robert believes that the future of learning largely depends on digital innovations.