Improving Education via technology

Cisco announced the results of its International Education Survey on March 9, 2011. There were several interesting findings that really reflect how technology is exponentially changing the educational world. Technology will always be a part of our lives. Above all, only grow to more into our every waking moment.

Technology’s role in education

— Clarus Research Group conducted the survey. However, they didn’t survey Course Hero. we agree with the majority of 75% of respondents who “believe technology can play a major role in how students learn and how teachers educate.” Specifically, “Most educators, 85 percent, see technology playing a ‘large role’ in how students learn. They also cited the impact that technology can have in encouraging student engagement and participation.” I echo this belief wholeheartedly. At a minimum, adding game mechanics into learning will surely encourage student engagement and participation.

Employability

— The survey also stated that “Preparing students to compete in a global economy and helping students ensure employability after graduation was the key concerns of 83% of people surveyed”.  “Today’s students need a core school program that prepares them for engagement in an increasingly connected ecosystem, requiring an understanding of how to use technology to compete effectively and become productive members of tomorrow’s workforce.”

Bill Gates

Employability is clearly an important issue to address. For this reason, it’s not clear whether there should be a greater focus on liberal arts or engineering, mathematics, or science. Bill Gates delivered a speech to the National Governors Association on Feb 28, 2011, in which he argued that we need to allocate more of our education budget on the fields of study that produce the most jobs.

Steve Jobs

Just three days later at the unveiling of the iPad 2, Steve Jobs said: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere are that truer than in these post-PC devices.”

Internet abuse, collaboration, and cybersecurity

— In the survey, “Educators rated protecting students from Internet abuse very high; close behind were using technologies to collaborate better, developing stronger cybersecurity on campus, and using technology to reduce administrative expenses”.

Doing more with less

— The survey revealed that educators also see technology as a means to “do more with less” and to become more efficient. They are also aggressive with plans to implement more videos and embed the technology and media in the learning process. They are also seeking more impact from investments in data-driven assessments and decision-making systems.

The video is great. More schools and companies are focusing on lecture capture technologies for their classrooms; At a minimum, it is a more efficient use of teacher and student time. Students can view the lectures when they want and as many times as they want. For teachers, this could allow for more collaborative use of classroom time than the classic model of lecturing for an hour in a largely one-way conversation.

The best videos and teachers will be able to build their audience and brand globally. Hopefully, then economics will surface around the great educators that are discovered through these mass reach videos and other learning materials. You could see the most popular teachers being able to produce incredibly high quality and engaging video content for a mass audience.

Also, data-driven assessments will be particularly valuable for STEM and introductory level topics. The part that I am most excited about is for the integration of games or at least game mechanics into assessments that have a “right” answer. Making these stereotypically nerdy STEM subjects more fun to a bigger audience could make a huge positive impact on the popularity of these areas of study.

Online international education

–Looking ahead five years, 65 percent of the college and university officials surveyed say online international programs are a “major opportunity” for them, as those can result in a greater “virtual” student body and can enrich learning opportunities by diversifying faculty, students and expert viewpoints.”

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