Today's classrooms are digital classrooms first, whether face-to-face or extended through e-learning platforms being fed by information and content repositories. While the need to deliver education online was accelerated with the global pandemic, it is not expected to slow down anytime soon. From nursery school to post-graduate and continuing education organizations, technology and connectivity are moving at an increasing pace as innovation is proving to dramatically impact learning outcomes.
This widespread adoption of technology, such as real-time collaboration, high-speed connectivity, and mobility solutions, has completely changed how teachers teach and students learn. Many educational institutes now look at technology as an opportunity to build immersive new teaching methods and connect with students more efficiently and across multiple channels.
"Online learning emerged as a safe and viable option for education continuity as the COVID-19 pandemic turned personal and professional worlds upside down but has since paved the way for a pedagogical shift in the way teachers teach and how students learn," said Ted Franz, Global Business Development from Kandy (News - Alert), a cloud-based, real-time communications platform, now part of AVCtechnologies. "In this mode of learning, teachers and instructors now function as guides, while students become active collaborators rather than mere passive learners.
At the college level, technology is already starting to play a major role in a student's educational experience. A survey showed that 90 percent of graduate students and 89 percent of undergraduate students found the quality of their education online to be either the same or better than in-person education. The same study found 67 percent of students already use their mobile devices to help complete all or some of their course-related activities, with another 12 percent saying they would have if they had the chance.
Universities themselves are also taking note of the rise of technology in education and are making the necessary moves to keep up with the changing times. Colleges are investing in powerful communications platforms to support research and advanced programs in science and technology, with high-performance broadband networks and cloud adoption giving students the digital tools necessary to succeed in their classes, no matter where they are.
"Colleges and universities around the world have been completely transforming their public spaces, libraries, classrooms, and labs into hyperconnected and increasingly immersive learning and collaboration environments," said Franz. "Additionally, initiatives focused on securing campuses from terrorism and other violent acts and ensuring student and faculty safety have driven the adoption of Internet-based security and surveillance networks, as well as mobile applications that keep the community connected and alerted in times of distress. In some cases, where IT infrastructure investment in colleges and universities has been lagging, important initiatives have been launched to overcome the digital divide.
Primary and secondary schools are also starting to embrace the role technology can play in education, with 93 percent of teachers at the level using digital tools to help with instruction, and 56 percent believing data and digital tools help make them a better teacher. Primary and secondary schools are investing not only in equipment for computer labs and connected classrooms but in applications enabling students and teachers to collaborate in real-time, to connect classrooms in different locations and even countries and cultures, to support distance learning, and to reflect the environment the children are being prepared to succeed in.
"Learning to transform teaching methods by using technology is a significant way to bring better learning experiences to students at this level," said Franz. "It saves time and effort for the teachers, while also benefiting the students' education, as student tasks and instructions can be tailored based on individual needs."
The potential of technology to drive transformation and evolution in the education sector has always been apparent. Videos are among the most effective content elements on the internet today, and when it comes to online learning and development, video is the more preferred medium compared to text documents. More advanced visual technologies may also find their way into the e-Learning industry. These technologies include virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which provide users with an immersion experience that aims to shut out their actual physical environment.
"The benefits that technology and distance learning can have on education are endless, with tools and solutions that offer real-time access to data only continuing to improve the role of technology in education," said Franz. "Solutions, such as those offered by Kandy, leverage communications APIs, and SDKs to make communication and connecting students and teachers for advancements in learning better and easier. These same tools can also be used by software developers to embed real-time communications into their desktop, web, and mobile applications." Learn more at kandy.io
With facts and figures favoring online education, it can be safe to say that it is here to stay. The combination of the growing interest in e-learning and how it is essentially a necessity nowadays due to the pandemic speaks volumes about its inevitable continuous growth, and as more providers, facilitators, organizations, and students realize the benefits of e-learning, it is not difficult to imagine an exciting future for the global online education industry.
"The impact that technology has had on today's schools has been quite significant, as schools are now giving teachers, students, and administrators creative and efficient solutions that are improving results and operations," said Franz. "And as the world continues to become more and more digital with every passing day, by fully embracing and integrating technology in the classroom, we are setting our students up for a successful life outside of school."
Edited by Luke Bellos