The emergence of COVID-19 served as the motivation for a digital education revolution. Schools and universities were pushed to embrace new modes of learning, such as remote classes and creative learning platforms, as a result of the lockdowns.
“COVID forced us to accelerate the adoption of digital learning tools that we’d been considering for a long time,” says Dr. Amjad, a professor at The University of Jordan. “They’ve completely changed the way we teach. We can reach students more efficiently and they find it easier to communicate with us. These technologies are now part of the university experience, and e-learning will continue to grow. It’s an exciting time for students and educators.”
Given that digitization and distant technologies will play a large role in the future of education, here are some of the most important education trends for 2022.
Integration rather than replacement
Concerns about the digital education revolution have been highlighted by several students and commentators. They are worried that the rapid adoption will have a negative influence on students’ learning. A lack of digital training, a shortage of bandwidth, and a lack of planning to change to the “new normal” are only three of the major concerns that could lead to a poor user experience.
However, proponents of e-learning are quick to point out that this year (and the next decade) will be about integration and long-term progress, rather than a speedy replacement of traditional classroom learning. To put it another way, e-learning will develop and coexist with traditional teaching approaches. “I anticipate that the use of information technology in education will speed even more in 2022,” says Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Tencent Education. “It will eventually become a fundamental part of school instruction, but teachers and numerous face-to-face interactions will still be required.” I believe a new hybrid education model will emerge, giving students and higher education institutions the best of both worlds.”
Students and teachers are on board
The rapid shift to e-learning during the onset of the epidemic presented issues for students and teachers. Students in their first year of university were among the hardest hit. After all, they hadn’t anticipated to spend their first semester cooped up in dorms and attending a few virtual classes each week. Furthermore, the vast majority of them were paying exorbitant tuition costs to do so. One dissatisfied first-year student stated, “I’m forking out thousands of pounds for Zoom calls and a few emails from my tutors.”
Students and instructors, however, are beginning to embrace digital education after a rocky start. They’re also benefiting from a more open, accessible, and personalized learning environment. In the United States, 35% of teachers thought that online learning allowed for more individualized training, particularly when catering to students’ unique skill levels. Digital technologies help pupils stay more engaged, according to a similar number of students.
According to another study conducted by Lynn University in Florida, about 80% of students prefer e-books than physical books. E-books, according to the pupils, were easier to read and annotate. They were also significantly less expensive than tangible copies. The higher degree of engagement, according to Lynn University staff, is the key cause for a 13% rise in literacy-based testing outcomes.
Here are some of the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling digital innovation in the classroom…
Within the next five years, investments in virtual reality (VR) technologies are predicted to increase by $700 million. Although an increasing number of VR startups are working on producing instructional tools and software, much of that will be in gaming. It implies that in 2022, more apps like SkyView, which uses virtual reality overlays of the sky to help users explore the cosmos, will be available. Stars, constellations, planets, and even satellites can all be identified using SkyView. In the classroom, there is genuine enthusiasm for virtual reality. 70% of teachers want to begin using technology in the classroom, and 97% of students say they would take a VR-focused course.
Another emerging tech area is augmented reality (AR). Experts estimate that by the end of 2022, investments in augmented reality education technologies will have reached $5 billion. AR adds digital layers of information to our reality by supplementing the natural world with digital pictures and sound. Medical students can now ‘practice’ operations or conduct tests without the use of real-life patients or cadavers thanks to augmented reality education tools. Mixed reality is used by Microsoft HoloLens to teach anatomy and how to treat various medical issues. Lens wearers can isolate, magnify, and even walk inside human bodily sections!
Extended Reality (ER), like VR and AR, builds virtual simulations of real-world locations. Teachers can take their students on a virtual tour of The Louvre or a walk through the Arctic Tundra using ER platforms like Google Expeditions. ER can also assist students in gaining a better understanding of what it was like to live through major historical events. The immersive ER 1943 Berlin Blitz app recreates a midnight bombing strike in Nazi Germany using real-life imagery.
Robot teachers are no longer science fiction. They’ve been in certain classes for quite some time. Since 2013, NAO, a humanoid robot created by the French company Aldebaran Robotics, has been utilized as a teaching resource for children with autism. The NAO software is designed to help pupils enhance their social interaction and verbal communication skills. Kindergarten instructors in China are getting some extra help from KeeKo, a little robot. When pupils respond appropriately, it offers stories, sets logic puzzles, and reacts with positive facial expressions.
AI and machine learning
In mathematics and logic-based decision-making, artificial intelligence can outthink humans. These intelligent computers, on the other hand, have a long way to go before they can comprehend and mimic the subtleties of human behavior and emotion. As a result, super-intelligent computers will not be able to replace teachers. Instead, simple, repetitive jobs such as taking attendance, making copies, translating, test marking, and other administrative responsibilities will be handled by machine learning and AI systems. Teachers will have more time and energy to devote to the human aspect of education as a result.
Educators and higher education institutions can also benefit from chatbots. Chatbots are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to provide crucial information to students or applicants. The time it takes for a chatbot to respond to a query can be reduced from days to seconds. Advanced chatbot software will be able to answer more complex inquiries in the future. They may, for example, offer recommendations and advise on how to create better essays.
Quick Response codes (QR) are used at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, to connect students and check on their well-being. These QR codes, which can be found on posters all across Northeastern’s campus, provide information on social meet-ups, significant calendar events, and mental health support resources. The codes are also being used by private firms to promote their goods and services. During the worst of the pandemic, they were a huge help. They were used by students to request contactless food deliveries and handle other daily duties while adhering to social distance rules.
The year 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting one for digital education. New technologies will continue to make learning more fun and interactive. Most significantly, increased access and inclusion will enable more people to benefit from life-changing educational opportunities.
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