Technology and the Future of Education
For decades, education systems across the world have remained tied to some version of what is referred to as ‘chalk talk’ — traditional teaching in a classroom with a blackboard for assistance. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, education has been forced to embrace video technology. Classroom learning is being replaced by effective visual alternatives and this has proved to be a positive shift in many ways.
According to Promethean’s 2018/19 State of Technology report, 94% of educators recognized that technology can improve engagement levels in classrooms, even before the pandemic unfolded. The report further adds that 93% of institutions believe video has far more satisfactory results when compared to traditional classroom learning and is a vital resource in higher education.
With online learning now in the spotlight, the rest of the world is also coming to see the vast potential of video technology in education.
Easy access anywhere, anytime
Unlike lessons taught in traditional classrooms, videos can be accessed across time zones and from a place convenient for both educator and student. Additionally, lessons can be revisited online which saves time and effort for the educator as it makes the repetition of concepts unnecessary.
Active learning and engagement
One of the main arguments against video education is the lack of active learning and personal interaction. However, this can be tackled with the right techniques. Some universities have already laid out tips to encourage active learning and engagement in online education. For example, the University of Arkansas created a list in 2014 recommending techniques such as:
a guided lesson plan
visual aids to encourage conversation
regular class assignments to boost participation and recall
These suggestions will serve educators well in today’s world.
Refined mentorship structure
There are elements in every course that can be taught with minimal personalization, as well as others that require dedicated guidance or mentorship. In theory, there are even some courses that can be shifted entirely to a video platform, or in other words, can undergo commoditization. Whether it is commoditization of an entire course or elements of a course, the process would result in more available resources for research-based teaching and overall mentorship.
While on one hand, travel itself can be looked at as a learning tool, on the other hand, remote education is a cost-efficient option. When students are given the opportunity to access classes from their own homes, it saves immensely on travel and living expenses. This throws open the doors of the education system to more learners from all walks of life and in different locations across the globe.
Maximum digitization was the next step in technological advancement much before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, and it will continue to be even after the pandemic vanishes. Education systems will have to invest in technological infrastructure soon, so this is a head start for an inevitable future of digitization. In an era of advancing tech disruption, it also facilitates skill building for all and provides learning avenues to people outside of the education network. This has become increasingly important for safeguarding jobs in a future of easily accessible knowledge.
These are just a handful of benefits to video learning and online education. And while there are several more, certain aspects still need to be ironed out. One of the primary issues is universal access to the technology required — not everyone has a laptop and high-speed internet.
Additionally, COVID-19 has resulted in other unexpected roadblocks for online education. This has become clear with the recent guidelines for international students proposed by the US government. If passed, the guidelines would have forced the international students enrolled in an entirely video-based course to return to their home countries this fall. Fortunately, the rules were dropped following criticism and the threat of a lawsuit from leading universities such as Harvard and MIT. The situation uncovered dangerous side effects to video and online education.
To make the most of video technology, education systems should look at integrating it into the traditional structure instead of favoring one over the other. If universities invest more in technology and ensure all students have access, a hybrid system of education could go a long way in making learning more flexible and affordable — even when COVID-19 is a thing of the past.