Since the kick-off of the 21st century, new technological innovations have pushed education to another level. Modern technology has thereby improved education in diverse fields, from classrooms to online learning programs.
Several types and/or a range of physical technologies are presently utilized within the education sectors. These may vary from video cameras, digital cameras, document cameras, interactive whiteboard tools, and LCD projectors among others. Worth noting, the Internet alongside all the other known physical technological innovations, is a very essential tool and platform for stimulating the usage and sharing of educational/learning materials. Some of the aspects of changes within the area of education technology include:
Mobile devices, Computers and Tablets
Mobile devices such as smartphones and clickers may be so useful for interactive feedbacks within the learning processes. As well, mobile learning can provide a platform for performance support in checking and tracking time, retrieving worksheets alongside instructional manuals.
Video and Audio equipment
Video technologies such as DVDs and VHS tapes alongside the synchronous and on-demand methods are now used digitally via the web-based options or server for learning purposes and sharing of educational information. The platforms for this sharing may include video streaming from YouTube, Teacher-Tube, webcams, adobe connect, and Skype. Alternatively, the interactive video games are currently useful both at higher education institutions and K-12 levels. On the other hand, audio devices such as radio offers synchronous educational vehicles, whereas audio streaming over the internet using podcasts and web casts serve as asynchronous educational vehicles. Moreover, classroom microphones, usually wireless, are perfect enablers of easy and clear interaction between the educators and learners.
The learning platform, commonly known as the virtual learning environment (VLE), simulates virtual meetings or classrooms via simultaneous mixing of several communication technologies. For instance, web conferencing software, such as the WebEx Training, Adobe Connect, or Go ToTraining enables instructors and students to communicate with lots of ease via microphone, webcam, as well as real time chatting in enclosed group settings.
Alternatively, virtual classroom enhances the students’ opportunity to obtain direct instructions from their instructors, and within an interactive environment. Students or leaners are thereby assured of intermediate and direct access to instructions for instant feedback and accurate directions. Virtual classroom also offers a structured class schedules, which are helpful for learners who may consider asynchronous learning to be more prodigious, as opposed to other learning methods.
Screen casting enables learners to directly share their work-screens from their browsers thereby allowing them to make videos accessible online so that other students can directly stream the video. The presenters thereby hold a greater ability in showing and sharing their ideas and flow of opinions rather than simply clarifying them as simple contexts.
Webcasting and webcams currently enable the creation of virtual classrooms alongside other virtual learning environments.
Interactive smart-boards and whiteboards enable instructors and learners to write touch-screens whose makeups may either be on an absolute whiteboard, as well as any other computer screen contents. Dependent on the settings and permission given, virtual learning can be participatory and interactive, including manipulation of images and writing on the interactive whiteboard.
There are several and diverse benefits of incorporating technology into learning programs and classrooms:
Ease in accessing course materials: Course materials posted within the World Wide Web allow learners to obtain learning materials very quickly, and study at a time and regions of their preference.
Opportunity for extended learning:Unlimited access to the internet offered in some of the western countries for domestic purposes now allow many students to access course materials at the comfort of their homes, thereby engaging with the abundant online educational resources available for learning. This also allows for international learning as different educational materials are often shared beyond the borders.
Wide participation: Educational materials can be shared and used for long distance learning, hence accessible to a wide range of audience.
Improvement in student writing: Through educational technologies, students are capable of processing and editing their written works using word processors, which in turn improve the quality of written work.
The Internet: at the present, has opened up or unlocked a world of opportunities for students. Ideas and essential information that were initially out of reach are now just a click away from learners. Students from diverse origins can now connect, learn, and share on a global scale.