Is it cliche to quote one of the most famous Bob Dylan songs at the start of a post about the modern education system?
Well, cliche or not – “The times they are a-changin’.”
This couldn’t be any truer than when talking about technology. Or education. Or technology’s impact on education.
Education usually revolves around teaching students in a set way. But as any teacher will tell you, we don’t all learn at an identical rate or retain information the same way.
And that’s where technology comes into play…
Modern day technology is providing students a cutting edge way to step out of a stuffy classroom and into a transformative experience, adapted to their specific, personal learning styles.
So go ahead and bitch and whine about today’s technology-obsessed world – a world of Facebook, memes, and swiping right or left – but guess what? If you don’t ride the incoming wave, you’ll be left adrift. And do you really want the inevitable technological progression to ruin your teaching business?
I thought not….
If you’re not incorporating technology into your teaching, you need to MOVE WITH THE TIMES!
Sound harsh? Perhaps. But you needed to hear it.
Let me give you some stats…
In 2010 electronic learning (eLearning) was a global market worth $32.1 billion
Makes you wonder where we’ll be in the next 5 years, doesn’t it?
Without hyperbole, I believe the world of education has never experienced this level of disruption ever before.In my eyes, it’s not 'if' technology will kill modern education as we know it….it’s 'when'. Click To Tweet
But, this isn’t a doom and gloom post, nor is it a modern education system essay. Rather than see tech as a threat, educators like you and me should incorporate educational technology into our teaching and be ahead of the curve – ultimately providing more value to students – rather than being resistant to change and ending up out of business.
So with that stark warning ringing in your eardrums, here’s a few of the key trends I think all tutors should be aware of:
#1. Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are programs designed to help students learn without human interaction…and they’re more powerful than ever!
Some systems simply ask questions, others put students through simulations or give them visual materials to work with. The real power of these systems is that they provide immediate, real-time feedback and advice, showing students where they’ve gone wrong or any areas of necessary improvement.
As such, ITS programs are personalized to students with specific learning goals, educational experiences, and personalities. Like a real tutor, ITS programs can prompt students with hints or helpful questions.
While the systems in their current form aren’t sufficient for a complete education on their own, they ARE powerful aids to learning and you should certainly be open to incorporating them into your teaching.
For a great discussion about Intelligent Tutoring Systems, including examples of systems being used today, check out http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/trends/intelligent-tutoring-systems/
And in case you’re the visual type (like me!) here’s an example of an ITS system – Knewton – in action. Hopefully this should spark some ideas about how you can incorporate similar systems into your own lesson plans:
#2. Flipped Classrooms
When I first heard of the flipped classroom a few years ago I had visions of kids sitting under their desks.
Fortunately, it’s nothing like that!
Basically, flipped classrooms invert the traditional teaching model, where, rather than learning about a subject in the classroom and being given homework, students are assigned a video to watch before the class.
Once they’ve viewed the video and attend the class, what would previously have been considered homework is completed in the class.
What’s the point? Using this method, classroom time is reserved for engaging with a concept and collaborating, rather than having to cram everything in. And by learning about new concepts and ideas outside the classroom, at their own pace, students can be better-prepared for face-to-face tutorials.
Flipped learning started in 2007, when two chemistry teachers from Woodland Park School shared recordings of their classes with absent students to prevent them from falling behind. This caught on, and their process gained steam worldwide.
Over the years a growing bank of evidence has been accumulated to support the view that flipped learning is advantageous over traditional teaching methods – an improvement to the modern education system as it currently stands.
Ultimately what it all boils down to is this…by flipping the teaching process you can pique your students’ interest and ward off boredom, encouraging individual learning – at their own pace – which is then further reinforced during lesson time.
For more information about flipped classrooms, including how you can incorporate it into your own teaching, take a look at the fantastic resources offered by http://flippedinstitute.org/how-to-flip
And here’s a great video introduction to flipped learning by the University of Groningen
#3. Video Sites
When you think of video sites, what springs to mind?
Funny office pranks?
If you’re one of those teachers convinced that videos equal procrastination, think again!
Online video opens the world to students giving them access to all the information they could ever want, right on their screen.
Want to know a little about the pyramids? Run a YouTube search and you’ll find more than one million results. Some of these are of no educational use, involving conspiracy theories and other wild tales. Plenty, though, will tell you about their history, design and more.
You can find lessons in just about any area you can think of. How to play an instrument. How to draw. Understanding human anatomy. YouTube’s a great educational resource, if you’re willing to hunt for the good stuff, but there are better sites out there.
Sites like Udemy and Coursera have millions of students collectively, all learning online. As they’re focused purely on education, their learning material is a step up from the typical Youtube vid.
Coursera for example offers free college courses online.
Think about that for a second.
Free college courses….10 years ago would you have thought that would be possible?
The reason it’s here, and growing exponentially, is down to the convenience videos offer. Rather than having to relocate or attend classes at set times, students can learn at their leisure.
Sites Udemy and Coursera are perfect for our 24/7, connected world. The idea of having to attend classes at the same time every day, five days a week, is outdated. Online educational platforms provide the freedom to learn as and when you like. You can watch videos, study materials and interact with tutors all from home.
[Sidenote: I’ve also covered live videos and teaching via Skype in a separate post]
Increasingly, this is also translating to mobile apps, with companies like HTL capitalizing on the inherent accessibility and convenience smartphones and tablets offer. Their mobile-compatible study guides and reference materials allow students in a variety of areas to access valuable educational resources without restraint.
Combining mobile and video will be a major change in the modern education system. Students and tutors are increasingly able to interact from across the world at any time, without the need to boot-up their computers. This means education is becoming more accessible for those without the money for a desktop or laptop.
You can simply put a phone or tablet in a student’s hand and they’re good to learn. That’s what you want. Accessibility.
Imagine how much more effective and rewarding education would be without the social trappings of traditional learning environments. When you’re online at your computer or on your phone, it doesn’t matter what you wear. It doesn’t matter how popular you are. It doesn’t matter who you’re friends with or whether you’ve heard the latest gossip.
All that matters is the education itself.
Say that to yourself again and again – ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE EDUCATION ITSELF!
And that, my friends, is why the current modern education system
is changing dying right before our eyes.
As a tutor you need to be aware of the trends that will eventually replace it for good, so you don’t get caught off guard as that change continues to accelerate… because boy oh boy will it continue.