Incredible leaps forward in data science and machine learning have had flow-on effects in the world of education technology.
However, the need for many Australians (and other people all over the world) to adopt remote learning has been pushed to the forefront because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Discover some of the latest trends in EdTech in Australia.
Top 5 innovative new approaches to teaching in Australia
The global COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of businesses as well as schools. This meant that teachers had to convert their educational content overnight into a digital format that could be accessed remotely.
While this was done out of necessity, it did present a number of new opportunities for remote, interactive learning.
eLearning presents unique opportunities for students to interact with study materials, and allow students access to a variety of different mediums – such as video assisted learning, podcasts, live chats and more.
2. Big data
With online learning becoming prevalent, it’s now easier than ever to utilise the power of big data to improve learners’ experiences.
Big data can be used to improve factors like student dropout rates, student recruitment and personalisation of curricula.
By collecting information on aspects such as engagement, grades and other criteria, Data Analysts and Data Scientists are able to analyse the data to discover patterns and trends and predict future outcomes. This will help to make better informed decisions in the future, while also pinpointing areas for improvement with existing students.
3. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
Remote learning also opens up opportunities for students to learn through virtual reality (where you are fully immersed into a virtual world usually with the help of a headset) or through augmented reality (where you can see images overlaid onto the ‘real world’ via your tablet or phone).
Technology has proven to enhance STEM learning and student success. VR can assist in STEM programs across Australian schools in a variety of ways.
For example, a STEM student could access a lab through a virtual reality headset and complete tasks in the virtual world, thus limiting costs and risks while still allowing the student to test their curiosity.
Augmented reality can also help in a number of ways, giving students a more thorough understanding of a particular topic by seeming to ‘bring it to life’ through the power of AR.
4. Machine learning
Machine learning and AI go hand in hand with big data.
With the help of data, algorithms are able to adapt to a student’s needs, providing the exact help they need for a particular task.
For example, if the algorithm can detect that a student is falling behind in a certain subject, it can provide extra materials that will help fill in the gaps for that student. Or, alternatively, it can notify the student’s Teacher so that they can take a more hands-on approach to helping that student reach their learning goals.
Gamification isn’t a new concept, but there have been big improvements thanks to the incredible range of technology available at our fingertips.
Gamification is about teaching students through fun, interactive games. The idea here is that learners retain information better when they’re doing something they enjoy – such as playing a fun game, like a maths-based puzzle.
Gamification encourages learning and retention of information through friendly competition, progress indicators (like badges or points), scaffolded learning (the more the student progresses, the harder the challenges and bigger the rewards) and other elements.
And with further advancements in VR and AR, gamification can reach new heights.
Teaching kids how to be tech-savvy as well as media-savvy
Typing a query into Google is, for many, an easier and faster way of getting information rather than picking up a book. This is the way the world has transformed in recent years, and it’s allowed the current generation of learners to access information in the blink of an eye.
But with so much information now readily available through the internet, and with technology so ingrained in the education system, it’s important that we also focus teaching people, especially young children, how to be media-savvy.
With so much ‘fake news’ out there published by non-accredited, non-academic sources, it’s easy to confuse misinformation with real, hard facts and data. According to Roy Morgan, the leading source of news online for younger generations is social media, mentioned by 59% of Generation Z and 50% of Millennials.
While we’re still learning about Generation Alpha (those born after 2010, mostly children of Millennials), this is a generation of children who have grown up surrounded by technology. It makes sense that the current trends we see for Gen Z and Millennials will continue for Gen Alpha. And with this in mind, it’s more important than ever that we educate our children on the dangers of fake news and how to tell if something is fake or not.
Where to next for the future of education technology?
With increased internet capabilities and improved learning management systems, we’ll see new trends in education shaped by these factors. This will allow Teachers and Educators to bring advanced technology into schools, creating a more accessible environment for students.
While capitalising on the amazing new trends in technology is a huge benefit for education, it’s not the only way to teach. Good Teachers will always be in high demand, and the best Teachers will have a solid understanding of how to best reach their students and utilise new technology in their curriculum.