education technology

8 Education Technology Topics Teachers Should Know

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Technology is taking over the education sector. You can show students how to collaborate on projects without having to leave home. Mix up the learning process with a new gamification technique. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a VR expedition. If you’re a teacher looking to explore this trend, here are eight education technology topics you should know.

1. Cloud Computing

Cloud-computing in education offers an opportunity for collaboration between students and improved communication with parents. The cloud allows data to be accessed and edited from anywhere in the world. Students can use separate computers to work on one document at once. They can also work with peers on the other side of the country or across the globe.

The technology is a great way to keep information accessible to students and parents. All data, such as course schedules and project rubrics, can be stored on a remote cloud server. A student can begin reading a book at home and then instantly pick up where they left off in class. Completed projects and grades can also be monitored.

2. Virtual Laboratories

With today’s technology, students can gain hands-on experience in subjects like science, technology and engineering. Virtual laboratories are cropping up in school districts around the world, making it cheaper and safer to perform experiments. Online learning offers students and teachers flexibility with a limited amount of resources.

With conventional experiments, one mistake could lead to a complete delay — or even cancellation. But with a virtual laboratory, students can perform an experiment again and again. If a problem occurs, they can problem solve and come up with a practical solution, maximizing the learning experience.

3. Mobile Learning

Many school districts have already implemented mobile learning tactics in their curriculum. Smartphones and tablets can make education adaptable and convenient, whether the student is in the classroom or at home. There’s no doubt the mobile trend will continue to grow and, with it, its influence on education.

Consider mobile a portable research tool — with the appropriate device, students can look up any topic at any time. Tablets are great for e-books and audiobooks, allowing students to take the experience from the classroom to home. The tech can even be used for presentations and projects, letting students get creative and showcase their technical skills.

4. 3D Printing

Can you imagine printing your own chess set or pair of gaming dice? 3D printing is a technology that makes the seemingly impossible a reality. In 2018, education accounted for 16% of all 3D printing applications worldwide, a 9% growth over the previous year. That number is expected to rise as teachers realize the benefits the tech brings to classrooms.

3D printing in education is a great way to bolster student and teacher creativity. Architecture students can print 3D models of their designs. Biology students can study the cross-sections of a human brain. For example, chemistry students can print and hold molecules to study. Even art and graphic design students could create 3D versions of their work.

5. Gamification

Gamification takes a complicated process or concept and makes it easy to understand. With fun and exciting games, students find it easy to learn and retain information. When introducing gamification to the classroom, teachers often see positive results. Due to rapid advancements in technology, educators around the globe can create immersive educational experiences

Some teachers allow students to play math, language and other educational games on the Nintendo DS. Teachers might also create an interactive poll or quiz, where each student has a buzzer to ring in their choice. One Indiana teacher created his own gamified classroom management system where teachers, students and parents can design an avatar, take on educational quests, track achievements and more.

6. Learning Analytics

Years ago, if someone wanted to collect and analyze data, it had to be done manually. Today, technology like data mining and analytics tools make it easy to collect and understand information in seconds. Education institutes are using learning analytics to improve their curricula as well as boost grades and retention rates.

Learning analytics can be used to assess curricula, programs and whole institutions. It can also be used to track student performance. The goal of the technology is to identify customizable education opportunities for students of all levels. Additional strategies might include social network analysis to identify student/teacher interactions or pinpoint disconnected students.

7. Open-Source Content

As an educator, you’ve likely heard of MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Both college and K-12 institutes openly share information on a number of topics. You can find everything from biology and chemistry to literature and philosophy. It’s easier than ever to find high-quality content that will enrich your students’ education. Some of the most popular open-source websites include Coursera, edX and Harvard Open Courses.

MOOCs can improve the quality of education in areas where resources are limited. Educators from universities and K-12 schools are incorporating open-source content into their programs to make them more timely and relevant. Teachers can encourage students to use MOOCs as supplemental learning materials. Additionally, they’re an affordable way to prepare for college.

8. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Students can gain an immersive learning experience from the comfort of their own homes thanks to VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). AR is software used on a smart device that overlays digital aspects onto the real world. For example, students could wear smart glasses that display a cartoon in the classroom. On the other hand, VR is a full sensory experience that includes a headset.

Utilizing AR and VR, Google Expeditions allows students to take field trips to far-away regions and learn about different cultures. Kids can swim with sea turtles and porcupine fish in the Galapagos, or trek ice-capped mountains in the Himalayas. The app has over 900 VR excursions available, each a new adventure.

The Best Education Technology Topics

Technology is taking hold of everyday life — including education. New advances like virtual laboratories and AR make it easier than ever to learn skills and gain hands-on experience. Take advantage of the new technology available and take your classroom to the next level.

8 Education Technology Topics Teachers Should Know
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Article by: Megan Ray Nichols

Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance science writer and science enthusiast. Her favorite subjects include astronomy and the environment. Megan is also a regular contributor to The Naked Scientists, Thomas Insights, and Real Clear Science. When she isn't writing, Megan loves watching movies, hiking, and stargazing.