Neenu Thomas, Business Development Manager, Panworld Education, UAE

Neenu Thomas, is associated as the Business Development Manager with Panworld Education UAE, one of the leading Content & Technology Integrator for Education. Her expertise and experiences lie in Strategic Initiatives, Partnerships, Business planning & Execution, Product and Vendor Management. An avid networker, she highly focusses on understanding the latest trends and the buying patterns of the industry.  She brings her in-depth knowledge to provide appropriate & realistic solutions to address the industry’s requirements. Brought up in the UAE and a dance fanatic, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

 

“Technology will never replace great Teachers, but in the hands of great teachers, it’s transformational” mentioned George Couros, the Author of “The Innovator’s mindset”.

Technology has always had an impact on the human life, right from its outset. With the evolution and advancement of technology, general sectors are transmuting expeditiously, with no exception in the education sector. Life, as we know it, has evolved, and technology has emerged as a life saviour amid all this. The impossible has been made possible, and yet, while we mostly embrace it, the question of the hour is: concretely, are we having mixed reactions to this change, which basically is quite consequential.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the education of children across the world. However, teaching hand in hand with technology has certainly helped to minimise the disruption of education dissemination even to the most needed. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools or online learning software, there has been a significant surge of technology from the past year.

Technology is an innovation of humans, so the application of technology in education is also innovative; enabling the educator to engender a differentiated space for each student’s own personalised learning. Educational Technology assists how educators impart education, both online and offline. Students now have access to information anywhere, anytime, and not only if physically present with the instructor. It transmutes the students’ approach to learning, making it much appealing, interactive, and captivating their attention – thus engaging them: making them learn better, recollect better, and apply it better. This does not mean that teachers must now become experts in IT: rather it signifies they have fascinating opportunities to work with.

An innovative educator follows the latest trend in educational technology, nonetheless, it is up to the teacher to decide which “trendy” aid they need for teaching and learning. Some of these would be:

  1. Video Assisted Learning & Gamification

Studies have shown that videos effect to much retention and this mode of learning is now booming especially in distance learning situations. Video assisted learning has proven to be beneficial to enrich lessons and make content comprehensible – thus improving student outcome and reducing teacher workload. Gamification helps create a fun, relaxed and positive learning environment for learners, thus making it the most popular in the K12 segment.

  1. Big Data

Big Data has been part of EdTech back from 2019 itself, and it is just getting bigger. The cognition experience needs to be personalized to cater to the learner’s needs. With online learning now booming, data tends to be more crucial than ever. Relevant information helps to customize and present the learning in a suitable format for the user. A large volume of data is produced in the educational realm through online courses, teaching and cognition activities. With the advent of Big Data, now teachers can access student’s academic performance, learning patterns and provide instant feedback.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

No technology cognate information goes ahead without the mention of AI in it now. AI helps to automate basic activities in education, like grading; making it possible for teachers to automate grading of multiple choices or close questions. This benefits the learners too, in getting support and helpful feedback. Hence some schools are utilizing this to monitor student progress and notify issues in performance.

  1. Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality Immersive Learning 

From the time VR, AR and MR has come into the education sector, there has been a humongous change. VR provides a constructed reality whereas AR gives an enhanced view of the real image. Thus, it helps to simplify complex concepts that plain images or a lab experiment cannot portray. This help students visualize what they are learning and make them feel like they are experiencing it as they learn. MR- a mixture of AR and VR, creates an environment where physical and virtual objects can exist and interact in real time.

  1. Coding

Quoting Berkman Klein Center, 2014, “Coding is a new literacy. To thrive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to design, create, and express themselves with digital technologies”. Coding involves problem-solving, perseverance, collaboration, mathematical logic, and reasoning skills – all skills required for students in this era.

  1. Block Chain Technology

A system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system. This ledger technology could better manage transparency, accountability through smart contracts for deploying student payments and to incentivize the overall educational experience so that students are awarded cryptocurrency to those who perform highly.

  1. Use of Television

The best way of utilizing Television for Education is in the form of study through informative videos, TV shows and documentaries that teachers can show during a lecture. This especially, in areas with poor Internet connectivity. Thus, it can reinforce school learning and act as a supplement to edify topics. 

  1. Social Media 

Creating a Facebook page to broadcast updates and streaming live sessions, Twitter as a class message board, Instagram for photo essays, Pinterest boards to save pins relevant to lessons – there are many different uses of social media in the classroom, and it is time to embrace this so that students participate directly in their own learning rather than just passive information absorption.  

  1. Robotics

Robotics prepare students for the competitive workforce of tomorrow, instigating the skills required for the future job market including programming and science engineering. Educational Robotics allows students to learn in various ways, thus developing their own personal learning experience, accessing information and educational contents through a tailor-made path all in an entertaining manner.

  1. 3D Printing

Educators can have digital 3D worlds come into life with this concept, encouraging sharing, teamwork, design through complex ideas. It sanctions them to design rich learning experiences for deep theoretical constructs that bring learning from the computer into the hands of the learner. In essence, they are learning valuable lessons about design, theory, and the manipulation of objects.

As explained above, these 10 trends are currently being utilized for the betterment of education.  However, these are not the only ones out there.   Many more are being adopted by different Education Boards, School Groups, Ministries of Education of sundry countries, depending upon the desideratum and the requisite in their local circumstances. 

UNESCO has come up with “Sustainable Development Goals” for many sectors. For the Education sector, they have come up with SDG4 as part of their 2030 vision.  Many countries are aligning themselves to the 2030 vision of UNESCO and adopting the SDG4 goals in Education. 

The United Arab Emirates is a member of the International Steering Committee on UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), UNESCO’s 2030 Education. This is part of the UAE’s efforts to promote its presence in international arenas appertaining to education, innovation, culture, and human development. 

Keeping in mind that technology has seeped into education and renewed its whole edifying and cognition process, I conclude by saying that technology is here to stay and build a culture of collaboration leading
to an improved, enriched experience.

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