This year will be marked as the definite turning point for online education. If EdTechs were just tiptoeing around digitization and distance education up until now, the worldwide need for quarantine propelled us to rely on modern education for good. Even traditional schools turned to technology to diminish learning gaps while students stayed at home.
Education technology has proven its worth beyond mere convenience to full-blown educational innovation in the classroom. Rather than replacing traditional education, EdTechs are either improving or creating new learning methods by developing powerful and engaging educational tools.
For those resisting to adopt technology towards education innovation, it might be surprising to know that there are apps and softwares that enable easy and free design, with no coding skill required. In this article, we’ll address how to get the most out of EdTechs and how technology can be the greatest ally in the classroom. We’ll even throw in a quick tutorial showing how simple it is to add technology to your teaching routine, using the MightyForms form builder to create a pop quiz online, like the one below.
Modern Education Transformed by Technology
Computers have somewhat been present in the classroom since the early 90s either enhancing, supplementing, or replacing traditional education. It started with CD-ROM programs and Microsoft Powerpoint presentations as lecturing props. By the late 90s, there were colleges in the country already requiring that all students own a laptop.
By 2000, as computer devices became more accessible and inexpensive, technology was not just a supporting tool for teachers, but it was helping students to learn better too. And by this last decade, learning definitely became more collaborative with technology. The modern education era has thus begun and the future of schools is now clearly distinguished by paperless classrooms.
Students of Z and Alpha generations have been the first two generations completely digitized since the very first day of school. Early on in their student life, technology was adopted inside their household and in school, so the paperless classroom is organic to them and all they’ve known. However, if these students are digital natives, not all teachers are caught up yet.
For those not used to e-learning, this year’s quarantine forced everyone on board to virtual classes so that the school calendar would not be halted or lagged behind. Teachers perhaps were the ones who needed to adapt the most so that the lecture given could have the same impact remotely as it would in person. But the fact is, with the right technology tool, the learning experience can be transformed for the better with online interaction.
Join the education evolution
For the past few years, we all have heard stories about the rise of new start-up companies applying technology to improve our everyday lives. These disruptive initiatives first challenged the way we communicate, our commute, or how banking systems work. It is no surprise that EdTechs (Educational Technology) would surface to revolutionize the way we teach and learn.
This evolution is not just about developing and applying educational tools to the existing methods. But rather, making it relevant for the “touchscreen” generation so they can thrive in this new thoroughly connected world. Traditional education can’t move fast enough to keep up with the pace of the current world immersed in technology.
Not that the fundamentals of education do not apply in our times, but the way it is taught had to evolve to reflect today’s society. The traditional education method of teaching separate subjects, for instance, evolved into interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies in order to comprise all connected knowledge areas.
The sensorial aspect of learning has changed as well. The weary learning process of passively seating in a classroom just receiving information from a teacher, flipping a book page, and taking notes on a notebook is no longer effective. Multimedia interactions between students and teachers from different devices have shown better assimilation and memorization of knowledge.
When it comes to processing new information by our brain, the more physical stimulus in the sensory organs, the better it is retained. So, imagine the difference between talking about the Mesopotamian civilization in class and taking students on a virtual field trip using augmented reality devices to really “feel” that period in history for instance. Talk about making learning exciting again!
EdTechs as Marketing Strategy
There are endless possibilities in which EdTechs can transform tradition into modern education, but perhaps even more so for informal education. Since formal education is classroom-based, led by trained teachers, there are still guidelines that must be met by the school curricula for graduation, whereas informal education has the freedom to explore more with technology.
Informal education doesn’t need to follow a strict or structured curriculum, since its objective is to expand specific knowledge and skills, beyond the school setting. Technology can provide tools for independent instructors and corporate educators, for instance, to really experiment with creative new ways to reach their audience. Think ebooks, webinars, video tutorials, and so on.
Considering that an edgy and innovative online course should not only share knowledge but attract and retain interested people to sign up, applied educational tools can be your best publicity. This is also an opportunity for marketing agencies to propose EdTechs solutions to their clients in order to promote buzz and engagement.
If there’s little or none advertising budget, then a smart strategy would be to transform your own educational app/website as your marketing investment. This was the exact move done by the language-learning website Duolingo to have gathered more than 300 million active users worldwide since its foundation in 2011. Duolingo’s competitive edge was their science-based education platform as publicity itself, attracting more users simply by word-of-mouth.
The Expansion of the EdTech Industry
The school environment will always be the pillar of education and no technology can’t ever replace a teacher’s passion for sharing knowledge. Nor will it fulfill the human nature need of sharing the learning experience and growing up with others. Technology will be better applied when it fills the educational gaps and solves learning problems.
Educators and innovators alike are working together to converge the traditional education benefits with technology enhancements. The EdTech sector is rapidly expanding, aimed at the potential of knowledge dissemination, rather than the obtuse “machine replacing teachers” debate.
Last year, EdTech investments reached a whopping US$ 18.66 billion worldwide, becoming the undoubtedly new frontier for technology. The massive funding of 2019 was focused on EdTechs that are developing legacy products like self-paced e-learning, cognitive learning, AI-based learning, Mixed Reality learning, Mobile Learning, Location-based Learning, Game-based learning and even Educational bots (more ahead). Another 2019 trend of EdTechs investments could be seen toward corporate-facing learning companies and for higher-education companies. More than half of this total global investment was allocated in the United States (58%), followed by China (21.4%) and India (4.2%), according to Metaari market research.
Emerging Educational Innovation
If technology is ever-evolving, all of the investment poured on EdTechs is speeding up the education innovation development. Cutting-edge tools are revolutionizing the learning experience across the board for students of all ages and needs.
The connected classroom of modern education nothing resembles the traditional classroom from the past. If students before were all seated in line passively receiving information from a teacher standing in front of the class, now students are seated in circles, actively collaborating with each other, under the engaging guidance of a teacher walking around the room.
EdTechs are enabling digital education to be fun, creative, and effective, transforming the way knowledge is taught and assimilated. The role of a teacher is also enhanced, with less lecturing and more facilitating new discoveries. Here are some of the latest technology-based educational tools reshaping the classroom:
Mobile Learning or M-learning is a form of distance education, where m-learners use any portable device educational technology (phones and tablets) at a convenient time. It focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies.
The advantages of Mobile Learning are: accessibility, since most people own a mobile phone; high portability, making it easy to carry tons of books-worth anywhere; cost-friendliness, considering online books are much cheaper; and full interactivity, because you can have textbooks, videos, games, polls, quizzes, and many more educational activities in your handheld device.
Mixed Reality Learning (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality)
This immersive technology allows students to experience knowledge in 3D and it might be the hottest trend for educational innovation since it is becoming less and less expensive. Mixed Reality Learning is just getting started and the possibilities are endless.
Learning is transformed into a vivid experience, instead of just conceptualized. Mixed Reality Learning enables students to be taken to never-before explored worlds, like virtually landing on the moon or diving in at the very bottom of the ocean to learn more about life. Also, it enables children with special needs to safely experience common places as well, like petting animals at the zoo or virtually play basketball with other kids.
Another form of distance education, MOOC or Massive Open Online Course, is unlimited participation, interactive online courses with open access via the web. Many MOOCs provide forums or support communities to guide the learning experience. According to the latest Class Central report, more than 110 million students took one of the 13.5K courses available worldwide.
Besides resembling a traditional course, with online materials, lectures, reading, assignments, and quizzes, MOOCs can be highly collaborative, connecting learners to answer questions or work on joint projects. Well-known MOOCs providers, such as Khan Academy, Udacity, Coursera, and EdX, are specially helping adults to polish up their professional skills.
True, Artificial Intelligence is watching our every move online, but imagine when it is applied to understand the specific needs of students. Basically, AI is used in education to identify a student’s learning progress through diagnostic testing in order to develop a personalized lesson plan.
In the bigger picture, AI promotes an adaptive learning method, smoothing out differences not only between students but also, between school districts, filling out educational and social gaps. The more AI analyses the learning progress, the better it will guide teachers and students towards progress and objectives.
This type of educational tool focuses on learning WITH technology, as opposed to THROUGH technology. Learners are in control of the cognitive tools, which help with activities requiring complex learning and critical thinking. Since technology can be highly interactive, the idea is to stimulate cognitive processes to develop problem-solving skills.
Learners are empowered to create their own representations of knowledge when using cognitive learning tools, instead of using a preconceived one. There are broad categories of cognitive tools being developed by EdTechs, such as writing and communications tools (e.g. Blogs); purpose drawing (e.g. concept maps); simulation tools, and organization tools (e.g. bullet journals).
As the name clearly suggests, this distance education tool allows learners to retain content at their own speed. This individualized approach is not focused on interaction and collaboration as other educational tools, but instead, it greatly encourages independence and discipline from learners.
EdTechs have been heavily surfing on the self-paced learning wave for the past few years and it has never been this relevant before during this year’s quarantine. Considering that this type of tool can benefit learners from all ages and interests, allowing users the freedom to design their own learning experience with almost instant rewards, we can only expect its expansion.
Location or spatial intelligence is applied to design educational tools based on geospatial data. EdTechs use location intelligence to collect, store, analyze, and visualize data with a geographical information system (GIS) in order to optimize a product or service. The technology considers all interconnected economic influences of specific areas as well.
This application is greatly helpful and important especially for public administrators, for instance, to better allocate educational funds. For K-12 schools, location intelligence can be used to determine school site selection, enrollment planning, school attendance, and more. For higher education, location intelligence can be applied to efforts towards student recruitment, alumni and donor tracking, and campus mapping, for example.
Gamification is a huge trend in technology and although most traditional educators would frown upon it, game-based learning is just in its beginnings. Games have long been proven its innocence from being a bad influence, and when designed within pedagogical standards and objectives, it can be one of the most effective educational tools out there.
Game-based learning teaches learners about reaching goals and following rules, besides encouraging adaptation, problem-solving, and interaction. The playful approach of this teaching tool fosters cognitive and emotional development while refining the student’s critical thinking.
Under the guidance of an educator, simple game-based learning technology like a spelling bee or math games can also promote a healthy competitive environment, preparing kids for adulthood challenges.
We all have experienced a chatbot exchange during a website visit, but this technology has been evolved to reproduce an almost human interaction. EdTechs uses artificial intelligence and conversational design to create chatbots aimed at educational purposes. Although it may seem futuristic, this educational innovation is not meant to replace a teacher’s presence in the modern education environment.
Considering that younger generations embrace new technology naturally, a communication exchange with a chatbot does not interfere with the learning. An educational bot can be used as a teacher’s assistant to present short lessons and then test students on the content, strengthening their memorization skills. Teachers can also use educational bots to conduct surveys to engage students to give feedback or to get online help and support on a specific matter.
10 Benefits of Educational Technology
There’s no turning back when it comes to adopting technology in the classroom, so instead of confiscating student’s mobile phones, we should be making them part of the education. Teachers should not oppose to technology but rather guide students to research and learn better online.
Considering technology is dynamic, there are always new ways to experiment and improve teaching methods. From preschoolers to college students, homeschoolers to independent instructors, and corporate students, education innovation can leverage learning and applied knowledge to new realms. Children will reach a new learning curve and college students will graduate better equipped for the workplace.
The benefits of employing technology far outweigh any disadvantages that might arise from it. All of the early outcries, such as faculty reduction or replacement, diversions from phones or tablets, cheating, among others, have been debunked. Despite these fears, digital education has been nothing but encouraging collaboration and promoting further interaction between students and teachers. Let’s go over the main benefits of educational technology:
1. Increase Engagement
Perhaps the most acknowledged benefit fostered by EdTechs is that it increases engagement among students. Since most of them own a mobile phone, they are more prone to engage in an activity and get excited about learning.
2. Promote Interaction
With EdTechs tools, teachers can come up with fun activities and learning games, like online polling and quizzes. You can create an online contest during a lecture to help kids discover how exciting learning really is, for instance. Students will be actively acquiring new information instead of passively writing things down.
3. Tailor for Unique Needs
This is where a teacher really makes a difference in each student’s life. EdTechs tools enable teachers to collect learning analytics data from the classroom to find out strengths and weaknesses. The data will guide each class prep, directing materials focused on what works best, and even to pinpoint a specific need from a single student.
4. Expand Education Access
If students can’t go to schools, then the classroom is brought to students. EdTechs provide access solutions to students with special needs (physical, developmental, or behavioral/emotional) or to reach students temporarily prevented from physically attending a school for any reason like being hospitalized or in quarantine.
5. Automate Admin Tasks
Automation can save a lot of time that could be better employed in creating new content for students. Administrative tasks such as student attendance, lesson plans, activities calendar, performance progress, grading papers and exams, all can be automated by educational tools.
6. Empower the Flipped Classroom
In the flipped classroom pedagogical approach, where students are first introduced to new content at home, then leaving practice, debate, and deep understanding for the classroom later, can reach full potential with EdTechs. Teachers can even set up a helpline form, so students can clear doubts at home, without having to disclose their personal phone number or email.
7. Become Paperless
The most noticeable visual impact of EdTechs in school is the drastic reduction of paper use or ideally, a 100% paperless classroom. The employment of educational tools replaces the need for books, handouts, paper exams, etc., because everything can be done and stored in an app or cloud service. EdTechs can help schools save money and become environment friendly, reducing their carbon footprint.
8. Get Updated Content
The world changes at a fast pace and a school textbook at the beginning of the school year can become outdated by the end of it. Relying on technology in the classroom ensures that students can also look up on fresh and updated content. Furthermore, students will invest their time on relevant topics, enriching their knowledge of the current world.
9. Instill Curiosity
Students who aren’t challenged enough will most likely feel bored, or worse, engage in some destructive behavior. Using technology as a resource for learning will help students create the ongoing habit of wanting more knowledge even outside the classroom. Teachers can instill curiosity, guiding the right online research, so students can develop their own critical thinking.
10. Improve Teaching Skills
It is evident that technology greatly improves student’s learning capacity but let us not overlook how it can significantly improve a teacher’s teaching capacity. Technology can help teachers to experiment on new teaching methods, enhance pedagogical approaches, and fight off complacency in the school environment.
Incorporating Educational Technology with MightyForms
Regardless if you are a school coordinator, a teacher, an independent instructor, or a marketing agency analyst designing for an educator of any form, going techy is easy and simple. You don’t need to learn computer coding nor spend a fortune to get started. You can add educational innovation to your teaching methods quickly and get a response from students fast.
Even better, you get to collect data from students’ performance and progress to better assess learning analytics and keep on improving. Automating learning analytics to measure, collect, evaluate, and report data about learners will optimize education in any learning environment.
Setting up quizzes, surveys, polls and conversational bots for students is an effective way to get started on technology for educational tools. MightyForms form builder app offers all these mentioned resources for free with an intuitive editor so you can start engaging your students right away.
About MightyForms form builder
MightyForms is a form builder that offers comprehensible solutions for web designers, business owners, and independent professionals. It is free to use to create unlimited forms with unlimited fields and submissions.
You can create all sorts of forms with MightyForms, like email subscription forms, contact form, order forms, payment forms, and of course, exciting educational tools. MightyForms form builder offers easy and intuitive form building with a drag-and-drop editor that requires no coding skills.
You have total control to create a fully responsive, 100% mobile-friendly, and easy-to-fill-out educational form. And to help your classroom management, MightyForms increases your productivity by automating all workflow of administrative tasks. Consider these MightyForms features and functionalities when creating your educational form:
- Build from scratch or from a template
- Easily resize and reposition any form field
- Choose from single choice, dropdown options or checkbox types of field
- Edit font, grid size, and colors
- Preview your educational form from any device (desktop, tablet or mobile) to assure responsiveness
- Real-Time Data Capture feature allows you to keep track of submissions from students as it is being filled out
- Determine which fields are required or create multi-step questions
- Set up a personalized pop-up success message after submissions
- Easily integrate your educational form to Google Analytics for advanced learning analytics or to Google Optimize for A/B performance testing
- Set up automatic email notifications to students, yourself or anyone else in your team
- Update or edit your educational form anytime you need
- Seamlessly integrate your educational form to other platforms for even more automation, like Google Drive, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Zapier, among many others.
Create an Educational Form – Tutorial
Transforming your classroom into a fun and paperless learning domain is easy and we bet you’ll never go back to traditional educational tools again! Let’s create a simple pop quiz as an example. Follow the steps below to set up an educational form that can be easily shared with your students and stir up class engagement!
Step 1. MightyForms Login
1.1 Go to the MightyForms app page to log in. Log in by either creating a MightyForms account, providing an email address and password, or simply sign in using an existing Google or Facebook account.
Step 2. Create a New Form
2.1. You should now be looking at MightyForms Dashboard. If you have created a MightyForms account, you’ll be shown a tour video. Let’s get started on the form building. Click on Create New Form button in red on the top right-hand corner of the dashboard.
2.2. Now you’ll be given the choice of how you would like to start: From Scratch or From Template. Let’s build our pop quiz form From Scratch.
Step 3. Creating a form From Scratch
3.1. When you select to start your pop quiz form From Scratch, you’ll be taken to the Builder Dashboard. Now there’s a new sidebar menu on your left and a blank block in the center. Simply drag the elements you want from the sidebar menu and drop it in the blank block.
There are standard elements available as field options for any kind of form, but also customizable fields that you can edit it according to what kind of input you want from students, like their full name. You can also choose from Single Choice, Multiple Choice, or Dropdown fields as field formats to build a pop quiz. Let’s add a Multiple Choice field next.
3.2. Let’s customize the chosen fields. Simply write the desired label from each field, for example, “Student Name” for the first Input Field. For the Multiple Choice field, you may add as many values as you want for response options by clicking Add on the sidebar menu on your right. Go ahead and type in the questions and options for the pop quiz.
You can resize and reposition any field. Go over the field with your cursor to resize it or to reposition it, click and grab it with your cursor and drag it to where you want it.
Step 4. Design Settings
Now that you got the basic structure for a pop quiz, you can style it any way you want it. However, even at this elementary stage, this pop quiz form is already fully responsive. Any field or element is customizable, so you can edit colors, font, size, and background to make it exciting!
4.1. Click on the Design tab, on the top center of the dashboard to be taken to the Design Dashboard.
4.2. Now you can customize and style your pop quiz form just as you want it. From this Design Dashboard, you can select from suggested theme options on the sidebar menu on the left of your screen. Go over the theme options with your cursor and click on Apply to select a theme suggestion. From the sidebar menu on your right, customize each element of your pop quiz form.
4.3. Let’s change the page background for something catchy, related to this pop quiz. Click on Page Background from the sidebar menu on the right. Then, click on the Upload button to add an existing image from your own gallery as the background image, for instance.
Step 5. Preview, Save & Publish
Your pop quiz form is ready. You can even preview it to see how it looks and to test all functionalities from different devices (mobile, desktop, or tablet). Keep in mind that you can go back and edit your pop quiz form anytime until satisfied.
5.1. Click on the Preview tab on the top right-hand corner of the MightyForms dashboard.
5.2. You must name your project so your work can be easily identifiable later on MightyForms main editor dashboard. Under Project Name at the top left-hand corner, type in a name for your newly created pop quiz form. Your pop quiz form name will be automatically updated. Then, click on Save & Publish tab at the top right-hand corner to be uploaded into your website and shared with your classroom.
In this quick form tutorial, we showed you how to get a simple pop quiz up and running. But MightyForms allows for unlimited possibilities so you can get the most out of educational technology.
Go further and choose advanced settings, like form integrations with Google Drive and Sheets to organize, grade, and analyze responses from students. Set up an autoresponder message to students and a notification to your email every time you get a pop quiz submission.
Join the educational innovation and get students on board of new knowledge adventures today!