Educational Technology Trends In 2020-2021
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Educational Technology Trends In 2020-2021

Big Data, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) were the biggest educational technology trends of 2019. However, distance learning has become the one trend that rules them all. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we teach and learn. Students now have to get used to distance learning via digital platforms due to social distancing. Even though some schools are reopening, this trend may continue until 2021. The latest EdTech trends in 2020, and further into 2021 are being revolutionized with a strong focus on connectivity, versatility, and student-centered learning. Let’s take a look at the latest top 10 trends in educational technology.

What Is Educational Technology And Why Should It Matter?

Many people can recognize that EdTech is devoting technology to promote education. It’s true, but not sufficient. The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) has defined EdTech as “facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” On the other hand, educators who actually use EdTech have a much simpler definition of the term. They say that it is a concept of transforming traditional book teaching and learning to digital form. For them, the main difference lies in the way knowledge is delivered (thanks to technology innovation) to make teaching more effective.

In short, EdTech is simply the is a process of integrating technology into education to build better teaching/learning experiences that result in higher learning outcomes.

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For example, several hospitals are training their new nurses with online safety courses by using animation.

Why Should It Matter?

There are lots of reasons why educators shifted to EdTech, replacing the traditional paper-and-pen teaching method. Particularly, we list some common advantages of EdTech that you can easily see here:

Innovative Teaching Methods

Technology is an innovation of humans, so when an educator can apply technology to teaching, it is also innovative. EdTech allows teachers to provide multimedia to address diverse learning styles, such as animation, live video, etc. Besides, EdTech enables teachers to create online courses where students can learn in their own space and at their own pace.

Improve Collaborative Teaching

Technology has made it possible for everyone to stay connected. Students and teachers connect, discuss, share their opinions, and act upon situations collaboratively.

For example, eLearning is an educational tool that features collaboration by enabling students to share and discuss. Instead of being in a classroom and listening to teachers speak for 30 minutes, eLearning students can join an online group/platform and learn together by interacting with their peers. In this case, teachers are more accessible and act as mentors to help students develop themselves. This collaborative learning approach has bridged the gap between teachers and students and also helps students strengthen their interpersonal skills.

Teaching And Learning Process

Firstly, EdTech benefits how teachers teach, both online and offline. Not always having to go to a specific class at a specific time, students can learn whenever and wherever. Secondly, EdTech changes the way students approach learning. EdTech makes learning more fun and exciting for students. When we feel engaged in learning, we learn better, remember better, and also apply knowledge better to real life. Lastly, technology makes education smarter, more effective, thus, satisfying learners’ needs more. True educators bring valuable knowledge to learners, both in theory and in real life. But smart educators are those who can create teaching from what learners want to learn.

To sum up, EdTech doesn’t mean teachers have to become IT experts. But it’s true that teachers can do these fascinating things only with technology, and that’s why we need EdTech in life.

Top 10 Current Educational Technology Trends In 2020/2021

If you are an innovative educator, following the trends in education is probably not something new but rather essential. Even with this list, however, it is still up to you to choose the most suitable "trendy" aid for your teaching and training. Here we select the 10 latest educational technology trends that are must-know when diving into this industry.

1. eLearning

Distance learning became the top 2020 educational technology trend overnight because of the rapid spread of COVID-19 and school closures. This led to a rising demand for online educational platforms. eLearning is education or training delivered electronically. It can be slide-based online activities, or it can also be an online course that helps a business train employees in necessary skills.

With eLearning, educational content is delivered to learners through computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Not only saving time but opening many doors for interactive learning. Rather than being in a passive experience, learners can choose what they need to learn quickly and easily, wherever they are. They also learn through interacting directly with on-screen information through, for instance, dragging content from one place to the next. Moreover, the decision-making scenarios in eLearning also encourage learners to make their own choices on what they will learn next.

In eLearning, learners just soak in knowledge through reading or viewing content, it changes the way education is delivered. Also, many eLearning courses include animation, podcasts, and videos that create a multimodal and practical learning experience.

The last point is, although eLearning has been around for a long time, it is staying green and continuously developing. Educators are using the advantages of technology to make learning more effective. That’s why more and more online and blended learning courses are produced nowadays.

Variety is the outstanding feature of online learning platforms. You can teach your students in real time (synchronous) via live stream or group meetings using Zoom or Microsoft Teams, or you can use recorded (asynchronous) methodologies with a wide range of media and digital functions available to enrich lessons. A good online learning platform can also be combined with a Learning Management System (LMS) so you can keep track of your students’ learning outcomes.

2. Video-Assisted Learning

In recent years, video-assisted learning has become more and more popular as classroom displays. The “video day” is no longer a television on a trolley being wheeled into a class. With the internet and digital devices, every day can be a “video day.”

This trend is also booming in distance learning conditions, which students learn through computer screens. Videos, especially animated videos, are extremely beneficial to enrich lessons and make content comprehensible. It improves students’ outcomes and reduces teachers’ workload.

3. Blockchain Technology

The Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) from blockchain brings so many benefits to education, especially data storage. Every time new data is added, it adds another “block” to the system, so the storage is technically limitless. Simultaneously, the data will be encrypted and distributed across multiple computers in the system. It makes transacting data decentralized and transparent.

Blockchain technology is used in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and ePortfolios to verify skills and knowledge. The DLT systems will answer the problems of authentication, scale, and cost for eLearning agencies. Moreover, it can help student applicants publish their accomplishments during the job-seeking phase.

4. Big Data Will Get Bigger

To cater to learners’ needs, the learning experience needs to be personalized. And with COVID-19 and online learning booming, we now have bigger data than ever before. Instructional Designers have relevant information about learners’ experiences to customize and present the course in a suitable format. Some information you should look for is the course’s topic, learner enrollment, learner performance (time per course, completion, test result), and learner feedback (rating, survey).

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI now is the "in thing" in the US EdTech market. People have predicted that through 2021, AI could become the primary trend and grow by more than 45%. So why is the trend booming in one of the world’s largest markets for EdTech? First and foremost, AI can automate basic activities in education, like grading. It’s now possible for teachers to automate grading of the multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. Thus, automated grading of students’ writing may not be far behind.

Furthermore, both learners and educators could benefit from AI. For example, students could get help from AI tutors when teachers are too busy to take care of everyone. Also, AI-driven programs can give both learners and educators helpful feedback. That’s why some schools use AI systems to monitor student progress and to alert teachers when there might be an issue with students’ performances. Therefore, it’s not too far fetched that AI is a powerful assistant for in-class teaching. Meanwhile, why don’t you help your learners get more out of the educational experience via AI?

6. Learning Analytics

The current landscape of learning analytics has dramatically expanded, especially for higher education. Learning analytics allows educators to measure and report student learning just by the web. From that, it’s possible for them to better understand and optimize learning.

When teachers read insights from students’ learning processes, they can improve the knowledge and skill acquisition of their students accordingly. For instance, teachers are able to see what type of information (text, images, infographics, or videos) that students enjoy most and use it more in their following lessons. Also, teachers are able to notice what pieces of knowledge weren’t effectively delivered and enhance them next time. Moreover, learning analytics helps educators identify blocks of students who may have academic or behavioral challenges. From that, teachers could develop a way to help students reach their full potential.

7. Gamification

If you are looking for a way to turn learning into a more fun and engaging process, gamification is the most suitable educational technology trend. There is no reason for students not to be actively involved in classroom games. Students can learn and practice while they are joining in on exciting game activities. Gaming elements help create a funny and positive learning environment for learners.

The adoption of gamification is most popular in the K-12 education sector. It’s because kids are quickly engaged in gaming videos or getting higher scores in a game. However, it doesn’t mean that higher education or corporate training doesn't need fun elements to improve the engagement level of learners.

8. Immersive Learning With VR And AR

The class learning experience has undergone a tremendous change since Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) came to education. The rise in demand for experiential learning pushes forward the development of learning with VR and AR.

Learning has become much more interactive than traditional methods. While VR provides a constructed reality, AR gives an enhanced view of a real image. Thus, they help explain complex concepts that plain images or even a lab’s hands-on experiments couldn’t show students. For example, VR is pretty helpful when you are attending a medical training course. In detail, VR creates a chance for students to experience real-world surgeries in a low-risk environment.

9. STEAM

STEAM-based programs are the new EdTech improvement over the STEM programs. This new trend of EdTech applies meaningful Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (the new element), and Math content to solve real-world problems through hands-on learning activities and creative design.

Concerning the advantages of STEAM, the first thing is that it helps students become increasingly curious about the world around them. Moreover, it also creates a safe environment for the learners to express and experience their ideas while thinking outside the box. The comfort of hands-on learning also helps students collaborate better with others.

10. Social Media In Learning

Have you ever thought that social media would be a part of the learning process? When every student, both young and mature, spends so much time on social media, why don’t we turn it into a powerful tool to enhance learning?

It’s how the idea to use social media for teaching came about. Many educational institutes have started using social media as a communication tool in which students can interact with others easily. Students can share study materials, discuss with others in a group, or easily comment on someone else’s post. Even an animated learning video could go viral on social media. And TedEd is the typical example of this trend! This organization creates lessons worth sharing and posts them on YouTube where people can easily access, find, and share the educational videos with their friends.

Social media is here to stay and build a culture of collaboration and sharing, leading to an improved learning experience.

Conclusion

In the end, we know that there is a lot to digest when we talk about educational technology trends. However, keep in mind that technology has seeped into education and renewed its whole teaching and learning process. Especially eLearning, an educational tool that not only increases the accessibility and convenience of education but also changes the learning behaviors and learners’ desires for learning.

But here is good news, you don’t need to go alone on this EdTech ship because you have us who will join you in bringing forth the true value of learning, inspiring learners, and making education more relevant and empowering.

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F.Learning Studio
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Originally published at www.flearningstudio.com.

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