The Future at Their Fingertips
Tech enables the future of our children
by Jon Roepke
Innovations in the EdTech industry enable differentiated learning experiences inside and outside the school room. Using technology, children have the world at their fingertips, allowing them an opportunity to discover and unlock their unlimited potential. Educators are increasingly embracing the flipped classroom model instead of the traditional classroom model. In the flipped classroom, students watch or read lectures at home on their mobile devices, freeing up classroom time for getting clarification from their teachers, collaborating with students for projects or working on other hands-on activities. We are beginning to consider more customized modes of learnings that cater to the strengths of the individual student. Let’s explore a few different ways EdTech is shaping the future of education.
Andragogy vs. Pedagogy
Our primary and secondary education systems have implemented tech to broaden our educational methods to include both pedagogical and andragogic approaches to learning. Pedagogy, which literally means “leading children,” refers to the teacher-centric classroom approach where children are prescribed a set of concepts to learn and are incentivized to learn them to advance to the next level. Andragogy was a term coined by Malcom Knowles and refers to the art and science behind teaching adults, who are believed to be more self-directed and explorative in their learning process. In this model, technology can act as an aid for both approaches by allowing teachers to deliver interactive presentations, assign online projects and share helpful tools and resources while granting students access to the knowledge and resources that they need to individualize their learning process.
This methodology allows students the self-satisfaction of pursuing their own education. Outside biases can no longer be enacted in the classroom which permits all students, no matter their background, an equal chance to learn and explore. A 2014 report from the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education finds that tech plays a remarkable role in closing the achievement gap for at-risk students. The study finds that tech used in an interactive, explorative manner increases student achievement and stimulates engagement, particularly with at-risk students.
Educational apps like Verso allow for students to anonymously partake in discussions prompted by the teacher, which leads to rich discussion full of new ideas and unrestricted possibilities. Screencastify is another app that allows teachers to record demo lecture videos for students to watch at home.
EdTech tools also allow the individual to choose what topics they want to learn more about. Students are given the opportunity to shift their learning orientation towards whatever fascinates them, molding them into passionate future doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers or writers. Students can select topics for learning that resonate with their own passions and interests.
STEM – For All
According to the National Girls’ Collaborative Project, boys and girls have similar achievement levels and abilities when it comes to math and science, but differ in levels of confidence and interest in STEM subjects. A 2016 NGC Project report reveals that women receive 50 percent of all science and engineering degrees and of these females, only 28 percent move on to careers in science and engineering fields. Offering STEM early with a focus on including our bright young female minds can help increase this percentage by allowing both boys and girls to develop the growth mindset necessary to pursue lasting STEM careers. Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce, according to the 2016 NGC Project report. By leveraging EdTech tools, young girls can have limitless exposure to every topic and field of study, allowing students to pursue that which most interests them.
A Global View
The unrestricted potential of tech means that there is no limit on our students about what they can learn. Students are exposed to current events, news, and information about other cultures, expanding their knowledge far beyond local regions. Our students are developing a diverse, global view of the world around them. Here in California, we are blessed to be in a melting pot of cultures, ethnic and religious backgrounds. However, for those in more homogenous learning environments, technology is one platform to inject diversity into our classrooms. Skype’s real-time translation tool lifts the language barrier between students of different cultures, allowing them to communicate with and relate to just about anyone. Lifting cultural boundaries like language for our children helps them to develop into open-minded adults that possess the ability to relate to others no matter their background or beliefs.
Every student in our future generation is truly destined for great opportunities, no matter their ethnic background, gender, religious beliefs, or socioeconomic status. Technology is a tool that each student can use to unleash their full potential. We should embrace the transition towards using technology to create passionate students who will eventually grow into diverse, accepting and successful adults. Tech enables the future of our children. Their future is quite literally at their fingertips.
- Business Because – EdTech: Development Of Online Learning Key To Africa’s Future
- Tech Crunch – Forget what you’ve been told about edtech
- EdTech Magazine – Improved State Leadership and More Fiber Connectivity Mark the Future of School Internet