With the onset of a global pandemic in 2020, the world of education has sought to resort to technology as the sole medium to continue the education of young minds. As isolation trends continue in 2021, especially across school campuses, technology becomes the main forte to keep up education in a smooth and uninterrupted manner.
The use of social media platforms and video chat rooms has become a norm over the past year as schools have remained closed most part of the year for children. Students, as well as teachers, have had to adapt to the changing environment of distance learning. Digital platforms and their different features are put to use like never before in educational technology.
Top trends that have emerged in the education sector for 2020-21 are the following:
In the past college students and professionals were the main customers for eLearning courses. That has changed in a major way since 2020. Now schools and colleges are using different eLearning methods to engage students. As a result, eLearning platforms have seen rising demand. Not only does it save time but it also provides options for interactive learning. Most schools use slide-based online teaching methods. Even in businesses employees are being trained with online courses to have the necessary skills and know-how that they require to perform their jobs.
Learners can use their laptops, smartphones, or tablets and go through videos, animation, and podcasts which are all part of integrated eLearning methods employed in virtual classrooms.
You can also refer to expert blogs on relevant topics. “Write the first fix later. The biggest hurdle for your social research paper is to get your ideas down” says Prof Caroline at PapersOwl. Whether you want to get professional assistance in essay writing or help with an assignment in class, live interactions with teachers make it easy for the students.
eLearning also provides different education technology options. For instance, college or school students can learn by interacting directly with professors during live online classes. They can also learn from online information and go through links to research-related content.
Classroom displays have now gone digital. Teachers create a virtual classroom environment by writing on boards that children can see through video chat rooms. This trend has boomed since most schools switched to online mode. Students log in through secure chat rooms where they can interact through video and audio tools. Teachers can talk and use visual displays to explain concepts and write down points for students to take notes. All in all, video-based learning has helped conquer the physical distance and brought a classroom environment for teachers and students across the world.
Use of Social Media
When the need arose for students and teachers to interact through digital platforms, social media channels such as WhatsApp came of use like never before. Of course, it was already in use by schools and colleges to form class groups to provide information and important updates to parents.
When school infrastructure suddenly became unavailable to teachers during pandemic situations across the world, it was the online chat platforms that helped keep up classes and interactions between students and teachers.
Since 2020, the use of social media platforms has evolved in their role in eLearning. For instance, WhatsApp continues to be the main channel through which teachers inform parents and provide updates about class curriculum, parent-teacher meetings, and so forth. A student can join different groups formed on WhatsApp as per teachers’ instructions. The same goes for vocational classes as well.
On the other hand, secure video conference platforms and chat rooms are used for conducting virtual classrooms or to hold virtual conferences and meetings. Platforms such as Zoom, MS Teams have seen significant demand for their services as well as Google Meet and others. It has also helped to bring overseas students and classrooms closer. Online classes of international universities are expanding their student base as the video chat and conference rooms become user-friendly and intuitive, thanks to artificial intelligence.
Gaming as an Educational Tool
When preschoolers also had to be engaged virtually, it posed a new challenge for school administrators and teachers. As they looked for ways to make learning engaging and fun, gamification emerged in education technology. It is not entirely a new trend since there have been fun eLearning apps around, encouraging parents and teachers to use the same for teaching young minds. However, today they are being put to use in a more mainstream manner.
While older students have the seriousness to take notes in virtual classrooms, holding the attention of 3-year-olds on a phone or laptop screen is not so easy. Though parents are required to assist with such young children, teachers have also adopted game-based learning to hold the attention of such young minds. Gaming is incorporated not only in learning apps but also used as videos, even with interactive features. This encourages children to learn by choosing different functions or options, as they would do in a video game.
Top schools are adapting to this need by investing in gaming video software that can be integrated into their eLearning platforms. With gaming elements, it helps create a positive and fun-based learning environment for young learners. It has gained much popularity over the past year, especially for the K-12 segment.
Use of AR and VR
With artificial intelligence integrated into most interactive educational tools, data for learning through AR and VR are also becoming reality. Indeed, as schools strive to find ways to make eLearning more immersive and impactful, AR and VR seem to hold the answers.
VR helps provide an experience that is close to reality, helping students to visualize as well as feel and explore different concepts and data, as it would be in reality. Hence, for those missing out on lab experiments, VR or AR are the only alternatives that can ensure that students get the right experience of such projects. Hands-on experiments that are not a possibility now can be shown to students with the aid of AR which enhances the view of real images. VR on the other hand can help students experience lab experiments and how they are conducted in different steps.
The education sector has been using technology in various ways to make learning more interesting and accessible to students. With the pandemic situation that unfolded in 2020 and continues to exert its influence across the world, technology has become a prominent factor in global education. Not only has eLearning become the base for formal education in many schools and colleges, but online services also continue to aid students as they develop themselves and get an education in a changing world.