Education

How Important Is Technology in Education

In today’s age, technology is everywhere. We have seen various technological improvements — especially in an educational setting.

The implementation of technology into education has brought new methods that facilitate teaching in a modern way. But, just how important is technology in education?

We asked experts to share their insights.

Table of Contents

Mike Feerick

Mike Feerick

Founder and CEO, Alison

The rise & rise of massive distributed teaching & learning

Tens of millions of people are studying online and completing from fast and efficient online learning platforms like Alison. Technology in education makes it easy for subject-matter-experts to teach what they know to a global audience.

Free publishing tools make it nearly impossible for traditional Higher Education Institutes to keep up with the knowledge and skills that are shared. EdTech is creating a world where everyone is a teacher, and everyone a learner.

Empowering the power of free

After the advent of the MOOC revolution, many learning platforms hastily retreated from free, to what was believed to be a more sustainable business model such as paid-only certification.

With free content becoming ever more available, the idea of paying for online courses is becoming a tougher sell. Business models such as YouTube (free learning, no certification) and Alison (free learning and certification) are kept relevant and alive by tech innovation.

The rise & rise of informal certifications

Employers are getting sharper to what skills their employees need, and becoming less and less impressed by clunky and costly traditional degrees.

EdTech is enabling more corporations like Google to release courses that for minimal cost, enable recruits to compete for jobs on the same basis as those who have paid heavy fees at the Ivy Leagues.

Furthermore, with more and more people turning up for interviews boasting of what they have learned on free learning platforms such as Alison, these platform brands will gain even more recognition among employers.

Employers want smart skilled people and care less where you went to college, how much it cost you and how long it took you to learn what you say you know.

Goodbye learning, hello empowerment platforms

Soon, with the advancements in technology, more of the large global platforms will extend their offerings beyond learning and into platforms that cater to a user’s entire career. A good example of this is Microsoft’s LinkedIn where CVs and Personal Profiles are targeted for on-going learning.

Platforms such as Alison are now integrating free learning, publishing, psychometrics, and recruitment – one service fits all – not unsimilar to the type of consolidation seen in other industries that were exposed to radical digital transformation ahead of others, for example, the travel industry.

EdTech enables the major learning platforms to be more Amazon-like, in the sense that they provide complementary services all in one place.

Dr. Michael Allen

Michael Allen

Founder and CEO, Allen Interactions

Technology allows varying learning experiences in real-time, maximizing every student’s abilities

We know every student is an individual person. We learn different topics and principles at different speeds with varying ease and difficulties. In contrast, traditional education methods deliver the same content to all students in the same manner. This means some learners are bored to death because they caught on quickly, while others are not able to keep up and won’t learn much of anything.

With technology, all students can take the time they need to reach proficiency or even mastery

This is because educators can engage in technology to vary the amount of instruction and practice each learner receives in order to reach proficiency. Without technology, we tend to accept that not all students will get there. So we just deliver grades and move on.

Technology allows students to be active in their learning

Rather than sitting through lectures, videos, and text readings, learners can work with experience simulators, trying different actions, and seeing the consequences. Learning becomes more deeply rooted and better-rounded. And a lot more fun, too!

Technology allows students to collaborate with each other

We know that “social learning” has motivational advantages and the enrichment of problem-solving as a team. Collaboration can be with students far and wide — in other countries and with other cultures — which further enriches the experiences.

Technology prepares students for useful and real-world tasks

Using technology to create simulated activities prepares students to perform useful and real-world tasks with a higher level of readiness, confidence, and competence. This is especially important when it comes to learning tasks that deal with health and safety. Using written tests to determine a student’s ability has much more room for error.

For example, answering multiple-choice questions about how to correctly conduct a chemistry experiment doesn’t come close to measuring the student’s actual ability to select, set up, and measure the appropriate chemicals to ultimately perform procedures in the correct and safe order. But with technology, students can master all of these skills before getting hands-on with the resources and potentially risk their safety.

Related: How Has Technology Changed Our Lives

Keith Phillips

Keith Phillips

Foreign Language College Professor | Edtech Entrepreneur |CEO, RealLingua

As a former foreign language professor, I can honestly say that technology in education is extremely important. And this has been true for as long as education has existed.

Technology – that is anything that we can use to effectuate, accelerate, and enhance a process or system – existed in the form of such things as slate tablets and chalkboards in the one-room schoolhouses of the 19th century and it has evolved – as all useful technologies tend to do – into their modern equivalents like computer tablets and digital presentation tools that are used widely in education today.

Technology allows for greater gains at scale

With better technology, we can not only provide a better learning experience, but we can also all but guarantee better learning outcomes. That’s really because technology allows for greater gains at scale.

It gives educators and students greater access to information (i.e. more information and more quickly) and also more ways to verify, validate, and vet that information during the learning process as it is synthesized into personal knowledge.

Thus, technology enables students to reap huge learning benefits by being exposed to a wider and deeper body of knowledge on the whole.

I also tend to think that technology can absolutely enhance the quality of the educational experience. However, technology is expensive. Especially leading-edge technology where the greatest potential gains and even quantum leaps reside for any field or industry, including education.

And because education essentially has a two-fold purpose to not only educate the individual but also, in so doing, to educate that individual for the benefit of society as a whole, I would posit that the financial burden for providing leading-edge technology at all levels of the education system be borne by not just students and their families, their teachers, and their schools but also, and perhaps to a larger extent by far than the previous three collective entities combined, by those that stand to reap massive gains from a super-tech-educated citizenry: both corporate entities and government bodies.

In the spirit of “putting my money where my mouth is”, almost quite literally (!), let me give you an example of something I’m doing in my new role leading an EdTech startup.

Based on my work in both academia and artificial intelligence, I think we’re going to see massive positive gains as education completely transforms due to the use of AI.

Much of what we already think about when we think about AI is related to “cognitive offloading”. That is, AI helping us do heavy-lifting in the thinking, data gathering, and analysis departments. However, and perhaps even more interesting, is what AI will do to help us as humans learn better, faster, and more effectively.

So, my team and I were recently awarded a grant to pursue a patent for a conversational AI we’re developing specifically for language-learning. Based on an algorithmic cognitive processor I developed and rooted in empathetic benevolence and flow state learning science, our AI will use true learning ability and gentle corrections to help the learner practice their listening and speaking skills as effectively as possible.

This more human touch coupled with a true learning ability is where conversational AI, and AI in general, is headed. This could become the foreign language teacher of the future.

It also has the potential to revolutionize education on a broader scale as well as shape and make history through true benevolent super-intelligence (“smart with a soul”) as we move into the fourth age.

Very exciting stuff – part of the reason I can’t wait to wake up and get to work each day!

Katerine Bielaczyc, Ph.D.

Katerine Bielaczyc

Director, Hiatt Center for Urban Education | Associate Professor of Education, Clark University

Technology can play an important role in supporting students in engaging in collective inquiry

Technology can play an important role in supporting students in engaging in collective inquiry — bringing together diverse bits of knowledge and perspectives toward building shared understandings.

In order to build knowledge together, it is important to have spaces where the processes and products of the community’s inquiry can be made visible and available for further work by participants.

Examples of shared, multimedia knowledge bases specifically designed to support community-based inquiry include Knowledge Forum and Scratch.

If a single classroom is using an online multimedia knowledge base, the online nature permits the work of a local classroom to be extended — space can be accessed in an anytime-anywhere manner, and participation can be opened to others outside of the classroom (such as a ‘virtual visit’ from others engaged in similar inquiry in other parts of the city or the world).

But online multimedia knowledge bases can also be intentionally global from the start — such as in citizen science projects where local data is entered to build a knowledge base to better understand phenomena at an international scale.

One powerful support for deepening understanding of learning is that the digital nature of the work can provide ways to assess and make visible the processes of learning as they occur. Such visualizations can enable powerful conversations and insights about learning and collaboration.

Some digital spaces also afford re-working or ‘re-mixing,’ where participants in the community are able to take a particular object in the communal space and make alterations that transform the original.

For example, members of the Scratch community author and share programmable objects in a communal space, permitting others to learn by ‘going beneath the hood’ to investigate the code of each other’s projects, and to draw from, re-mix, and extend each other’s work.

The technology used in this manner has the potential to support creatively working with knowledge and deepen understanding of how diverse perspectives can contribute to advancing the community’s inquiry.

Alexander Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov

CTO, PioGroup Software

Educational technologies are a vital part of the modern process of teaching and learning. At PioGroup Software we work hard on producing high-quality software and apps in the education sphere.

We should say that the market is booming now, especially in terms of the pandemic. But how exactly technologies will be deployed into education? We have made many types of research and here is what we have found:

Learning for 24/7

Educational technologies are constantly pushing teachers and students towards new horizons. Technology allows students to study anytime from anywhere. All materials are available for use during the daytime and even nighttime. Students all over the globe encouraged to use devices: laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

This freedom motivates students to learn as it is not necessary to be present in the physical classroom.

Better communication

Yeah, that’s right. Due to gamification which is introduced to the process of learning, children have to communicate better with their classmates and teachers. They are eager to overcome the challenge and win the game, but without effective communication — it is impossible.

Thus, learners always benefit as they have a gamified and interesting lesson, and have the opportunity to improve their communication skills.

Individualized learning

Edtech tools will enhance individual learning pathways for sure as technologies will help to define the strengths and weaknesses of each learner.

Therefore, teachers will have the opportunity to plan lessons regarding the learning abilities of each student and be prepared to fill their gaps.

Boredom is in the past

Educational technologies will make all lessons attractive and interesting! The time of boring lessons and teachers with a nasal voice has passed. It is proved already that students perceive information better using gadgets.

Modern devices are like a magnet to students and drawing their attention. Edtech will engage students and as a consequence, increase their learning abilities.

Technologies are skyrocketing in education now. Combining cutting-edge technologies with students could be a perfect storm of change that will boost the quality of modern education.

Joe Sallustio

Joe Sallustio

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President, Claremont Lincoln University

Technology’s role in education has always been important but never been more important than it is now, with in-school learning upended across most of the country.

Throughout all levels of education, the pandemic has accelerated a pivot to online learning that has been met with varying degrees of denial and acceptance—from institutions that have been forced to make unexpected investments in technology, to teachers who are sharpening their ed-tech skills, to students who are figuring out how to navigate this new world of instruction.

The fact is it’s been long overdue for technology to take a leading role in education and, once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, we’ll realize that leapfrogging forward has had more payoffs than we thought.

Students will be better equipped to succeed in the digital first-world

Institutions will have figured out how to truly adapt to online learning, not merely just trying to port old models into the digital world. For their part, students—most of whom are already tech-savvy and have high technology expectations for the future—will be better equipped to be online learners and to succeed in a digital first-world.

They’re already learning in other aspects of their lives through 24/7 technology, and are adept at interacting with others and absorbing information in this way.

Add to this that technology needs to be expanded. With many students—from kindergarteners up to PhDs—at-home learning, there have been instances where a glaring lack of broadband and WiFi have created barriers for students used to being in an internet-equipped building. The viral story of two little girls using Taco Bell’s free WiFi for their schoolwork was a stark reminder of how much of a digital divide still exists.

The pandemic has given us a chance to pause and consider how technology can rethink the future of education, to improve the system, and to provide rich, flexible learning experiences that extend beyond the four walls of a classroom. The system might not have been ready for a shake-up, but the transformation that lies ahead will be worth it.

Jed Macosko, B.S. MIT, Ph.D.

Jed Macosko

Professor, Wake Forest University | Educational Director, Academic Influence

Technology, by itself, doesn’t impact how well people learn

“This is the greatest invention for teaching since chalk!” As a university professor for over 20 years, I’ve heard that line a thousand times. It’s not that technology isn’t important for education, it’s just that by itself technology doesn’t impact how well people learn. That said, technology can, when used correctly, have an amplifying effect on the essence of good (or bad!) pedagogy.

So, what is the essence of good teaching? It’s the personal connection between the learner and the leader.

If technology is used to connect learners to the right leader—even if they are separated by time and space—it can powerfully magnify education.

Books and scrolls were perhaps the first instances of this. If Nicolaus Copernicus, for example, hadn’t ever written down his thoughts, Galileo and Keppler would have never learned what they needed to know, and we might still think that the sun revolved around the earth.

Nowadays, the internet has given everyone a printing press—and a Hollywood studio. Ideas can more easily flow from leaders to learners. This, then, is the huge importance of technology in education.

Allen Koh

Allen Koh

CEO, Cardinal Education

Technology has put a stamp on the concept and dream that “Education is for everyone”

To state that technology has changed education entirely would be to stress the obvious. Technology has made education more digestible for students and they are no longer under the pressure of being overwhelmed in an environment where they are bombarded with information by the teacher in a classroom setting.

Learning has become a much more independent phenomenon where students have access to recorded lectures and can go through them at their own pace and process based on their mental acumen. Technology can help to provide them with a higher quality of education.

In COVID times, the entire education system is based on technology. Even before COVID struck, technology had provided the education system with the concept of flipped classrooms, a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school.

This is the reverse of the more common practice of introducing new content at school, then assigning homework and projects to be completed by the students independently at home.

To provide remote-access to Labs in various disciplines of Science and Engineering, virtual labs have been providing a big support system. Digital simulations and models can help students not only better understand various disciplines, but also get acquainted with the wonders of the modern world.

Related: What Is Stem Education and Why Is It Important?

Today, with the advent of many open source freeware, coding, simulation, modeling, and analysis has become easier and does not require you to have heavy-duty machines (computers); access to physical labs is not required.

The countless online resources that technology has provided are a massive boon. World-class universities are providing access to great classes that can change the course of a student’s career.

It is encouraging for students to carry out research and therefore become more independent, skilled, and grow with technology. Technology has put a stamp on the concept and dream that “Education is for everyone.”

Phil Crippen

Phil Crippen

CEO, John Adams IT

Technology is essential in education in so many ways. Here are a few main points that highlight the importance of technology in education and the education system.

Building a good student-teacher relationship

When teachers include technology to teach students in different fields, students take more interest and develop a better understanding of their respective fields’ content and concepts.

Efficient evaluation or testing

With advanced technology, it is easier to take exams, quizzes, or tests online. Instant evaluation of students’ abilities not only motivates them to do better but also saves the time of teachers to invest it in doing more productive things.

Abundant resources

With the advancement in technology, students and teachers have multiple resources to take notes or do research. So, now education is not confined to books only.

Better engagement

Students find technology more interesting and hence have a better grip on their concepts. More resources for teachers as well to stay focused and do better research.

Technology is necessary on the primary and secondary level of education

Technology is serving at every level in the education system, and it has now become compulsory. Without it, computational skills wouldn’t be completed, and students who do better with computational knowledge get success in the business world.

Both the primary and secondary education levels need technology to fulfill the requirement of a better education system.

Alex Hargrove

Alex Hargrove

Chief Technology Officer, NetLawGroup.com

Technology, in a word, offers individuation

I discovered that most teachers spend their time with students who fall behind versus those who leap ahead. With one teacher and many students, emphasis on one group necessarily means a reduced emphasis on another.

With a computer, in contrast, this tension between the top and the bottom dissipates. Unlike humans, computers can teach a large class of kids each at their own level provided someone has programmed the computer accordingly.

Like a personal trainer, the software can always provide the right amount of resistance. Too much resistance, sticking with this analogy, and the person is injured; too little and they never grow.

Where roles are properly defined and aligned, teachers and virtual lessons provide massive network effects over either one standing alone. When misaligned or misdefined, this relationship is reversed; each has the potential to undercut the benefits of the other.

Before looking at some examples of good and bad uses of technology, we should first distinguish between virtualized instruction (content plus logic) versus technology used to “enhance” the classroom experience, such as televisions.

A great example of virtualized instruction is Khan Academy. It pairs content from skilled teachers with very basic business logic that allows students to engage the content independently. More on that below.

First let’s look at an example. In one class, students are introduced by their teacher to the concept of integral exponents, and then asked to use Kahn Academy to practice at their own pace. Good use of technology.

In another class, students are introduced to the same using a video lecture. They are then given a link to the same (static) assignment in some online portal. Bad use of technology.

In the latter case, you have lost the individuation that a teacher would be able to provide even talking to a group (looking at eyeballs and tailoring pace accordingly), and the digital assignment is merely a more convenient form of the same one-size-fits-all worksheet.

The technology here is playing recorded content, in other words, without the business logic. It’s the business logic that allows the computer to show, little Johnny, let’s say, more examples of multiplying exponents with the same base — x^2 * x^4 — while providing little Jenny with more advanced examples – x/y^2 * x^3/y^.

Before looking at more examples of the same, it might help to define the proper role of the teacher vis a vis technology, looking first at the proper role of technology.

On that, let me posit a rule. The quality of the virtual instructions is a factor of two things: 1) the quality of the raw content; and 2) the level to which that content is individuated via the writing of complex business logic around it.

Business logic can be as basic as saying if the question that came before was answered correctly, show this question next instead.

In that regard, Kahn Academy is certainly not sophisticated but its content is extremely high quality. The program packs typically five questions into a quiz that cover basic concepts from the topic at hand. Each time the student goes through the quiz, the questions are changed.

Same concepts. Different questions. This allows students virtually unlimited practice. It’s a great replacement for the static “digital” worksheet in our example above.

More sophisticated business logic (AI, machine learning) would allow for a program to take into account not only a student’s progress in the context of a predefined lesson but in all lessons and conceivably across all subjects.

Think of a video game that constantly adjusts the difficulty based on how well you play it. Surely there are those working on such a system. But for now suffice it to say that this represents the other axis by which virtualized learning should be judged, and it measures in degrees.

Where business logic is lacking, the teacher plays an integral role. A classroom where students sit in front of a computer going through Kahn Academy would not be a very effective classroom. Khan Academy has limits and those limits are readily apparent when a student has questions that can’t be readily gleaned from the material.

Things are taught a certain way and if the examples or other content don’t connect, you have nowhere to turn (and the system doesn’t know). Here, teachers play the vital role of filling in gaps for students on a mostly individual basis.

The role of the teacher, in that view, requires the teacher to know the content that the students are learning, and be able to teach it, better than the computer. If a teacher cannot explain why x^2 – x^-3 = x^5 then a student who fails to grasp the concept from the recorded lesson on Kahn Academy is unlikely to figure it out by having the same content played back again. (“Watch the lesson again Little Johnny. I don’t know.”)

Let’s finally talk about bias. Bias in virtualized education is particularly pernicious because it has the ability to affect millions of students, unlike the acutely biased teacher of old, who’s efforts at indoctrination were much more limited in scope.

What’s more, virtualized education can be optimized over time to improve the delivery of information, which creates a greater chance that the virtualized bias is going to significantly affect students, whereas classically biased instructors are a mixed bag; some effective, some maybe not.

Steven Cox

Steven Cox

CEO, Takelessons.com

Technology has the power to remove physical and socioeconomic barriers to education

Technology is helping learners in any location and from every background access the benefits of learning. As technology becomes more advanced, devices and internet connection become more accessible, and educators become better equipped to teach online, truly life-changing knowledge sharing can take place across a whole spectrum of disciplines and subjects.

This has the power to transform education as we know it and to advance the lives of both children and adults around the globe.

Today, master artists, scientists, philosophers, researchers, and educators are using technology to share their skills with students of every age and skill level through technology. You don’t have to live close to a great teacher or meet tuition at a major university to connect with the world’s best educators, expand your worldview, and further your abilities.

In fact, whether you want to learn algebra or ballet, ASL, or biology, you can gain access to those resources online, from wherever you are. In the best-case scenario, and as devices and internet connection become more widely available, online education will improve the quality of life for millions of Americans, while also creating a culture of learning that lasts long into the future.

Laura Nicholson

Laura Nicholson

Health and Physical Education Teacher

We all live in a constantly changing and the evolving world – and technology sits at the forefront of that statement. Technology has provided countless opportunities and has essentially impacted us as a generation. Working in the field that I do, education comes to mind above all else as I ponder this topic.

Technology is an important tool for education, as it helps democratize and expand opportunities for learning

The pandemic and successive quarantine have proven to be perfect examples of how this tool has aided us and allowed us to continue to teach.

With the forced adoption of online learning, professors/teachers are finding ways to build online learning communities; truly engage students with content that helps them improve; and broadcast their classes online to share with students and other professionals. In fact, in some cases, technology took learning to a whole new level that many of us assumed we did not have the capacity to do.

As we are now back to school this September in Toronto, we begin to teach in person as well as online. Pivoting from the classroom to the remote “classroom” on the same day is quite the change, but we continue to make it work.

As a Health and Physical Education teacher, one of the technological tools that begin to segue my students from in-person to online or vice versa, is the HomeCourt app. It allows them to compete during a time where varsity sports are not an option and allows them to track personal progress. Whether I have a student learning at home, or in the gymnasium, they are all still able to remain an encouraging and engaged “team” via the HomeCourt app.

It acts just as much if not more, as a skill-based development circuit that students can work on and virtually track progress. If we want to take it to another level, we may even have a classroom HomeCourt competition whereby progress is eventually compared for awards.

Homecourt democratizes learning as well as provides essential feedback that helps expand knowledge. It helps kids who have no access to sophisticated basketball knowledge, training, or skill development gain access to a platform that could give them just that – anywhere in the world.

Providing my students with feedback in any capacity in order to expand knowledge and allow room for improvement is a very important part of my teaching model. In this virtual age, HomeCourt ultimately unlocked a feedback mechanism that is more meaningful and powerful because of the advancements in artificial intelligence, computer vision, and augmented reality on iOS devices.

Without feedback in the area of physical education, students would not be able to navigate their next move. What I mean by that is, their movement competence, hand-eye coordination, and physical fitness skills are constantly developing, it is my job to help them understand how to perform to their fullest potential.

Verbal feedback and demonstration are a given, however, I specifically see student results when I have them write out personal goals, track fitness progress, and record areas for improvement all on their own. It gives them a sense of self-awareness and accomplishment.

Golda Manuel

Golda Manuel

Founder and CEO, Leksi.co

Technology is now a prerequisite for education and learning, as it brings an immeasurable advantage. From the ability to get a full education online to learning from experts across the globe, technology widens our ability to communicate and share information.

We rely on this connection now more than ever, as schools and businesses remain closed, and we remain determined to get an education.

Students and teachers have access to educational tools that accommodate visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning styles

Education itself is a complicated and personal journey. Each student must determine their learning style as they navigate through early and higher education. With widely available technologies, students and teachers have access to educational tools that accommodate visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning styles.

Products like DisplayNote help teachers share content on screens, Leksi.co enables auditory learners to transform any text into audio, and there is a myriad of apps and games to help students hone math and vocabulary skills.

These technologies not only supplement but enhance the learning experience and the retention of information.

Technology cannot replace human thought or experience, at least for now. It is, after all, created and maintained by humans. However, technology can advance our capabilities by enhancing the way we learn and illuminating new paths.

Dmitry Krasovskiy, Ph.D.

Dmitry Krasovskiy

Head of Education & Learning Services, EPAM

Technology improved outreach, quality, and efficiency in learning, as well as supporting lifelong education

Recent technological advancements have not only enabled access to education regardless of location, race, and income but have also made learning more accessible to people with disabilities.

Technology has helped expand the quality of learning experiences. Automation has helped eliminate human errors and data science has enabled enhanced learning analytics, providing more informed insights into learner performance, immediate feedback to both learners and instructors, and adaptive content and personalized learning paths for greater effectiveness.

These technologies enable more lifelong education by developing learner profiles, accelerated learning pathways, and greater access to learning data, credentialing, and prerequisites.

Finally, like many other fields, education benefits from improved efficiency in both time and cost for institutions, instructors, and learning through the use of technology.

Meredith Downing

Meredith Downing

Manager of Learning, Wonderschool

Technology gives an equal playing field for work opportunities and for the latest comforts in life

In a world where technology is literally taking over, instilling it into today’s education is so important. It closes the gap between humans in different cities, states, and countries so we are all on an equal playing field for work opportunities and for the latest comforts in life.

For example, if one city embraces technology in their education system while another city down the road sticks to modern education methods, the students from city #1 will be further ahead for today’s society when their schooling ends.

They will be more comfortable as the world progresses even further and should see bigger success in their professional life. Giving every student an equal chance at these opportunities by leveraging technology in education is extremely important. Since our society as a whole has decided to embrace what technology has to offer, our education system has to as well.

With technology so readily available for us (and the obvious positives it can present), we need to embrace it in education so we continue to see progress.

Samantha Diamond

Samantha Diamond

Founder and CEO, Culture Connect

It’s all in how you use it

Technology is at its best when it’s an almost invisible force that facilitates learning and is not itself the star of the show. I call this the ‘whiz-bang’ effect – or when the technology itself or the usability of its features is where the focus is, rather than the content itself or its emotional impact on the user.

When students are on field trips, it’s the artwork or objects, and the facilitated dialog with students that is the core learning experience. Yet, technology enhances this a few ways: It can provide additional information (only so much can be on view in a gallery or in a textbook); it can provide multimodal learning (text, audio, and video simultaneously); it can become more accessible (low-vision and blind users; non-English learners); and it can provide a self-paced interactive experience (non-linear exploration, game-like experiences).

With COVID making distance learning the norm, it’s more essential than ever that content is delivered in a compelling and efficient way across digital channels – whether that’s a learning management system, Zoom or Google Meeting, or web experiences provided by third-parties like museums.

Museums have always excelled at experiential learning and have experimented with immersive technologies for years. Now they – much like classroom teachers – are delivering these ‘in-person’ experiences ‘virtually’ and for both parties, technology has become essential.

Brian Nassif, M.Ed.

Brian Nassif

Physical Education Teacher, Albert Einstein Academies

The technology tidal wave that physical education needed.

I’ve been in the P.E. biz for 15 years, earned my fair share of recognition, and even considered myself a tech-savvy teacher but it turns out I was only dipping my toes in the water of technology. Since March 13th, I’ve been paddling out into a technological tidal wave and I’m finally becoming a better swimmer.

The most incredible apps make classes more accessible to everyone

I’ve discovered the most incredible apps. Naturally, I had to Bitmoji myself and Flipgrid’d, but there are so many great tools I never used until now. Do ink, ImgPlay, Videoleap, PicPlayPost have all upped my video editing skills. Student Laptracker created an at-home app to automatically syncs our students at-home outdoor aerobic activity to their daily running club laps (miMove is another good one for tracking fitness at home).

Out of all these apps, I’m a little obsessed with the HomeCourt app and so are my students. HomeCourt is the “interactive, AI-powered mobile app that puts live-action sports inside a game. Now everyone can play sports at home.”

I record my HomeCourt sessions and my students follow along with targeted skill-focused workouts. I even got the green screen involved (note a green screen is just a green sheet) and created Tetris, Mario, and sport-themed standards-driven lessons using the HomeCourt app.

So what happens when I go back to teaching on the playground. First, note that I still prefer teaching in person over zooming for 6 hours a day, even though I’m surrounded by recess, with planes flying over, in the blazing heat! I plan on flexing my tech muscles to take a flipped-classroom approach. All my students have spent months learning how to learn online, we can’t just let those skills go to waste!

I now have platforms to share my skill-focused videos for the students to review at home so when they come to my class (the blacktop), I can work with them individually instead of repeating myself 35 times like a talking robotic head.

Since they’ve already heard my spiel in the videos and had a little practice at home, I can better support students on their levels and better differentiate the learning during those precious minutes I get to be with my students. Oh, and do I have a plethora of quality indoor learning experiences for those rainy or 90+ degree days!

So yes, I have felt like I’m barely keeping my head above water (I’ve actually sunk a few times) but these tech-savvy swimming muscles needed some high-intensity training.

Justin M. Menda

Justin Menda

Tutor | Academic Coach | Founder, Rocket Prep

You have to have the right technology and as little else as possible

Technology is absolutely critical in education, but not in the sense that most people think. It’s not a matter of more vs. less technology; you have to have the right technology and as little else as possible.

In general, the simplest way to meet your goals is the best way. Sometimes that takes higher-tech, sometimes it takes lower-tech, and sometimes it takes a judicious combination of both.

My favorite example is practice problems. My students have benefitted immensely from having easy access to large numbers of practice problem sets tailored to their skill levels and goals. That would be unthinkable without the Internet as we know it.

However, when it comes to doing those problems, pencil-and-paper is almost always best. The practice problems themselves aren’t the goal; the goal is to learn the concepts they represent and develop the skills they require. For that, there’s no substitute for marking up the content directly, thinking in writing, and having that kinesthetic connection to what you’re doing.

You can get many of those benefits from a tablet and stylus, but good ones are not yet easily available and no one seems to have implemented a good way to flip pages as easily as you can with real paper.

Mary Stephens

Mary Stephens

CEO & Founder, PrepForward

Education truly benefits from the resources and new ways of interacting that technology can provide

Technology can connect people in ways that were not previously possible. Technology allows experts to create content that is available to all people. Technology can enhance different aspects of education, including engagement, assessment, instruction, analysis of data, and working with students with special needs.

However, educators must be careful to integrate technology correctly and at the right times. Human success is mostly predicated by human interactions and those are different in an online environment. Special attention must be made to ensure technology is enabling effective communication and collaboration.

Furthermore, for any technology that is being used outside the classroom, educators should be careful not to increase inequity and widen the achievement gap. Educators should embrace technology and use it to enhance their teaching.

PrepForward truly understands effective online learning with their self-paced courses for K-12 teachers preparing for certification or seeking professional development.

Jessica Wein

Jessica Wein

Marketing Director, MaestroVision

Not only is technology important in education, in 2020 it’s critical. With so many educators transitioning to a virtual classroom as a result of the pandemic, they’re left with no choice but to embrace technology as an educational tool.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 more than half of the jobs required some kind of technology skills. By 2020, that number was forecasted to reach 77 percent. When technology is used in the classroom, it encourages students to get comfortable with it.

Comfort and familiarity with technology come in handy later in their lives when they enter today’s workforce

The best thing about using technology in the classroom is that it’s adaptable to all types of learning styles.

Visual learners may get the most benefit out of watching an instructional video. Auditory learners may need to utilize a recording of their teacher’s lesson to replay at their leisure.

Kinesthetic learners can play educational games that allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the material. Even reading/writing learners can use ebooks and enhance their typing skills with Microsoft Word.

Does technology need to replace all forms of in-person learning tools in the classroom (workbooks, whiteboards, paper, and pen)? Absolutely not – but teachers who aren’t utilizing it in any shape or form may be missing out on providing their students’ opportunities to grow as learners, and eventually bloom into professionals in our highly-technical world.

Jason Appelbaum

Jason Appelbaum

Marketing Director, Proximity Learning

A better way to address this question is to look at how detrimental a lack of technology would be in today’s education

If you just look at the most successful companies in the world right now, they are all tech-based. And when you add the current COVID situation to education, students that don’t have proper access to technology like a laptop, tablet, or even smartphone as well as stable and fast internet access, there are huge groups of children that will not receive an adequate education. These students will struggle with the fundamentals, lose confidence, and be behind when schools resume in-person education.

Looking back at my first point, as we continue to educate our children, leveraging technology is the only way to learn about high tech skills like coding, editing, app development, software, and so many other skills that are increasingly impacting the success of companies across the globe.

Sergey Golubenko

Sergey Golubenko

Head of SharePoint Department, ScienceSoft

Technology influences the following aspects of education:

Accessibility

eLearning removes geographical boundaries between learners and educators.

Flexibility

With technology, education can support different learning behaviors and styles. For example, mobile apps enable students to learn on the go.

Micro-learning offers learning material in small chunks, which can be a good addition to the main learning course or serve for revising its milestones.

Engagement

Gamification helps increase learning efficiency, knowledge retention, and learners’ motivation. The same effect is achieved by advanced AI and machine learning technologies as AI and machine learning that help create a personalized learning path for each learner.

As for immersive technologies like AR, VR, and MR, they make learning interactive and help learners get a better idea of complex processes, for example, in healthcare and manufacturing.

Arash Fayz

Arash Fayz

Co-Founder and Executive Director, LA Tutors 123

Technology has become critically important for education since COVID began. Using tools like Zoom, Google Slides, Google documents, and a Stylus pen, teachers can interact with each student and deliver individualized instruction and interventions.

The student can respond to those instructions in real-time, either out loud or by typing or writing with a mouse or stylus.

Educational video series and podcasts are great for keeping students engaged

For students who have trouble studying, Quizlet can be a good way for them to set up digital flashcards. In terms of technology, when parents or school boards can supply it, I have found students are much more successful at keeping their work organized and at staying focused during Zoom meetings when on a laptop rather than their phone or a tablet.

It makes kids less likely to move around during meetings, and it means they can open multiple apps at once (such as participating in a Zoom call while also looking at their notes in a Word doc or their homework on their school’s web portal).

Helen Fu Thomas

Helen Fu Thomas

Chief of Staff and CMO, DMAI, Inc.

We cannot trust technology alone to direct our children to the right content, especially in the world of click-driven ads and information

That’s why it’s essential that the best minds in education collaborate with technology innovators to provide parents, educators, and young children the best educational resources. When this collaboration happens, we unlock the ability to use technology for good.

Technology can help us bring educational material to life in new ways, expand access to more families, and customize learning for each child to deliver the right content at the right time.

Lindsey Wander

Lindsey Wander

Founder and CEO, WorldWise Tutoring, LLC

Online learning through the use of technology is a great equalizer

It is not dependent on a learner’s access to quality educators and is not contingent on the variables faced in everyday life such as weather and the attitudes of the instructor.

Students of all backgrounds and at any location can have access to high-quality online learning resources by simply having a device and access to wifi.

Furthermore, artificial intelligence in education technology can track mastery and adapt to the learner. It can monitor a user’s progress and constantly evolve to push the student’s comprehension even further.

Another positive of utilizing technology in education is the accessibility, in that lessons can be accessed at any time for practice and review. This is beneficial for students with predominant learning styles that tend to struggle to keep up with the content in the traditional school setting dominated by lectures.

Implementing technology in education prepares students for the real world

As many businesses shift to a remote/hybrid model, online lessons better prepare students for the growing remote workforce.

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