The merger of technology and education is always and exciting topic for me. Technology is the catalyst that constantly changes every aspect of our world and education is not immune to this change. In the words of Selinger, Sepulveda, and Buchan (2013), “with technology as the catalyst, education is moving from a knowledge-transfer model to a collaborative, active, self-directed, and engaging model that helps students increase their knowledge and develop the skills needed to succeed in the “Learning Society”, (p. 3). This post will focus on how shared workspaces, mobile learning, microblogs, blended learning, and the internet of things are impacting education.
Shared workspaces allow users to share documents and exchange information using synchronous and asynchronous communication. Almost every major player in the IT market provides a shared workspace platform. Tools such as Google Docs and Drive, Basecamp, and Microsoft SharePoint all make collaborating in the workplace and classroom a breeze. The ubiquitous Google and its concept of one set of credentials for all their services make Google a likely choice for the average classroom teacher who wants to encourage collaboration in the classroom. Learners can collaborate from anywhere at any time. The uses of shared workspace like Google Docs are endless in the classroom.
5 ways to use Google Docs in the classroom – Getting Smart article detailing five innovative uses of Google Docs in the classroom.
Using Google Docs in the Classroom – YouTube video demonstrating creating a quiz using Google Docs
Mobile learning (mLearning) involves the use of smartphones, netbooks, mp3 players, tablets and other mobile devices being used to deliver training (Noe, 2013). mLearning is a flexible alternative to traditional e-learning, truly offering learners the advantage of learning anywhere at their pace, in their own time. mLearning offer multiple device support and allow students to participate and collaborate on the go (Pandey, 2015). Pandey theorize that the rise in mobile use for learning is due to the change in learner demographic (more Gen Y learners), BYOD policies and mature learning management tools that allow for the integration of mobile devices. Pandey’s views suggest that mLearning is here to stay and will be increasingly demanded by learners.
Microblogs or microsharing refers to the use of tools such as Twitter to share information in short burst of text, links, and multimedia (Noe, 2013). Microblogging can be used to keep learners engage during and outside the class. It can be used to send reminders and messages to students about assignments, classes and administrative updates. Rey Junco’s research on the use of Twitter in the classroom provides insights on how microblogs can be used in the classroom, click the link to see a summary of his research below.
- https://youtu.be/SVOY2x81_bg – Rey Junco’s research on Twitter in the classroom
This is a hybrid model that incorporates face to face (traditional) instructions and eLearning. Blended learning provides the learner with the benefits of the approaches employed while minimizing the negatives (Noe, 2013). Much work has gone into researching this method including new approaches such as the flipped classroom. Our demand for technology and the need for engaging and effective learning approaches fuels the use of blended learning in the classroom. Noe (2013) explains that blended learning is hampered by every changing technology, lack of knowledge on implementing the approach, and lack of management commitment to the process. Regardless of this, many still attempt this method and receive promising results for their students. With continued use and training to target the hindrances identified by Noe, blended learning can and will continue to change the face of education.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
This has become my latest fascination. From connecting bulbs and electrical outlets to smartphones to remotely closing your front door and arming your alarm, the Internet of Things has certainly caught on quickly. But how will it change the face of education? Smartboards! One of the first IoT devices employed in the modern classroom, smartboards changed interaction in classrooms from the traditional chalk and talk method. Students and teachers interact with the board as they would their computers, erasing, adding and editing content right on the board.
SMART Boards Why are they so easy to use? Watch a quick and informative video on how smartboards can be employed in the classroom.
Education and the Internet of Everything – Cisco’s predictions of IoT for the next 5 years
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Pandey, A. (2015, July 14). What are the benefits of mLearning? Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/benefits-mlearning-featuring-5-killer-examples
Selinger, M., Sepulveda, A., & Buchan, J. (2013). Education and the internet of everything: How ubiquitous connectedness can help transform pedagogy. Retrieved from Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/solutions/industries/docs/education/education_internet.pdf