5 Technology Trends Reshaping Education

Liz Alton

New technologies are reshaping the educational experience. Digital innovation has had a significant impact on every element of learning, including how teachers present curriculum and the way students engage. From connected classrooms to immersive learning experiences, a host of new devices and software tools have emerged in the last few years. Here’s a closer look at five of the most important technology trends influencing education today.

Computers, Tablets, and the Power of One-on-One Computing

Today’s classrooms are equipped with computers and tablets. Many schools allow students to take devices home to read digital textbooks, complete homework assignments, and stay connected to teachers and classmates. These “one-to-one” computing environments allow students to access a deeper level of learning, while receiving personalized teaching and feedback on assignments. Research reported in EdWeek shows that access to computers has a statistically significant positive impact on student test scores in writing, science, and math. In addition, researchers found additional benefits in areas such as improving the quality of instruction, deeper student engagement, and stronger teacher/student relationships. For schools determining the cost/benefit analysis, it’s a powerful incentive to invest in technologies.

Data Analytics Measure Educational Performance

Data analytics and big data are buzzwords that drive IT engagement across industries. Within education, data analytics are helping improve operations and yield better learning outcomes. Schools use the vast data repositories they have on students, faculty, and operations to make laser-focused decisions about investing limited resources for best results. When working directly with students, Innovation Enterprise notes, “Each student generates a unique data trail during his or her lifetime, which can be analyzed for a better understanding of a student’s behavior. This can then be used to create the best possible learning environment.”

Teaching Teachers with Better Technology

Technology is also playing a key role in helping teachers. McKinsey reports that U.S. schools spend $18 billion annually on teacher development—and for many organizations, digital learning platforms and other technology-aided solutions are helping reduce costs and expand learning at scale. As the focus has moved away from workshops, “This shift has opened the door for technology platforms that enable improvement by making performance transparent, connecting teachers to each other and to instructional coaches, and providing access to engaging, innovative, personalized training experiences from external providers.” With fast-changing innovations in every field, and increasingly rigorous curriculum demands, teachers need the support to meet the needs of their students.

Adaptive Learning Technologies

One of the biggest challenges educators and students face is the wide range of students who are present in a classroom. Finding ways to adapt to the unique needs of a student who is advanced in a particular subject or needs specialized support can be difficult. Adaptive learning technologies help teachers turn the tables and offer up customized learning paths at a pace students need. The impact is tangible: one Harvard study noted that students using a mathematics adaptive platform for just seven hours improved their testing scores by two percentile points. As Forbes notes, “Intelligent adaptive learning platforms make it possible to collect evidence of student thinking and learning in ways that are impossible with paper and pencil.  By arming educators with rich, timely information about student growth and performance, future developments in intelligent adaptive learning platforms will likely encourage educators to re-imagine their instructional practices, resulting in increased classroom innovation and improved student outcomes.”

Gaming, AR, and Immersive Learning

Educators and parents have been fighting a long-time trend of apathy in the classroom. New technologies such as gamification, augmented and virtual reality, and immersive learning platforms are turning lessons into more engaging experiences. The Tech Edvocate notes, “Children are more likely to actively engage the material if they can practice skills under the guise of a video game. These virtual games give them a real-world opportunity to assess how well they understand the concepts and motivate them to try their hardest to complete problems.” From targeted homework assignments to in-class simulations, these tools provide more interesting learning opportunities, immediate feedback, and the ability to offer compelling educational experiences at scale.

Technology is offering more support for teachers and more engaging learning opportunities for students than ever before. School districts are seeing significant ROI from their technology investments. From the one-on-one computing experiences that computers and tablets enable, to full-scale immersive learning platforms, technology is reshaping classrooms and student success.

Liz Alton is a B2B technology and digital marketing writer and content strategist. She has worked with a variety of brands including Google, Twitter, Adobe, Oracle, and HP, and written for publications including Forbes. She is a regular contributor to Connected, Connection’s official blog.