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Digital Education is Here to Stay if it Tackles the Digital Divide

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Education and tech have collided like never before in 2020. People have realized that the tools needed to do remote business or accomplish remote learning education is possible with tools like Zoom. Here is all about digital education and how it is here to stay — if it can only tackle the digital divide.

Like Zoom, Canvas has seen a similar rise in popularity and the number of users. The learning management system is now statewide in 13 states and has over 30 million users. Larger institutions are also using a tool called Construct to build digital-specific lessons and game-based content.

Large video game makers are also jumping into education. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has added Borderlands Science inside their popular Borderlands franchise. For in-game rewards, players can help map the human gut microbiome. So now, when a parent tells a kid to do something productive instead of playing video games, they have a great comeback.

A new Instructure study details the State of Education During COVID-19: what’s working, what’s here to stay, and what will need to be fixed and addressed as we move forward.

As with any advancement in tech or disruption of an industry or institution, there are unintended challenges. Here is what this study found to be the most important.

Faculty-to-Student Engagement is Still Key

With an increase in remote learning and digital education, the definition of student success will have to change. There is also a broadening conversation happening on emphasizing retention and aptitude versus being present and remembering facts. As kids already have access to a million things on their phones, critical thinking skills, and how to use their resources best becomes more applicable.

Still, the big key in retaining information is engaging content and hands-on instruction. 86% of students list this as their key to driving future success.

Engagement is key, too, because only 69% of students feel engaged with their classwork during these massive disruptions to conventional learning.

Improved Views on Remote Learning

That said, most people are pleasantly surprised by what kids are achieving remotely. Just like with workplaces and Zoom calls, the shift wasn’t seamless, but it worked.

60% of administrators and 50% of students have a more positive attitude toward online learning now. That means even after we conquer this pandemic, there may no be a majority that wants to continue online — but just like in business, there will be many who have done better because of remote learning.

Short-term remote learning challenges.

There are still challenges in the short-term. 70% of students are reportedly falling behind in some way due to the pandemic. Falling behind can be due to a variety of factors including slow changes to cut quickly on the technology in the spring, or school closures from in-person classes in the fall.

It takes an adjustment period, but there are larger potential benefits going forward with online education. For example, parents will be able to more easily stay engaged with their students and know exactly where their kids are in lesson plans. A parent will have a better grasp on when to step in and help their child when school-teacher-and students are on track in real-time.

Addressing an Increasing Digital Divide

The digital divide is the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed for the future of online education.

Access to devices, Wi-Fi and other tech varies across households. More remote learning also means variance in household distractions and support.

Kids in upper economic households (56%) feel two and a half times more engaged in their schoolwork than kids from lower-income households (21%). These issues could merely come from closer-quarters in lower-income households. As parents are better trained in the needs of their children (i.e., need for a quiet study atmosphere) most adults will step up to the task, and we’ll all have a better experience.

What will lessen the digital divide?

Four times more students from lower-income households find it harder to stay engaged during online learning. But these discrepancies have always been present in varying income households.

Innovation

What will it take to change the stats? Innovation. In the late 70’s the innovation was Sesame Street that suddenly catapulted lower-income students to be able to compete with higher income students. As tech rapidly progresses we will see more and more innovation that can bring everyone up to speed.

Tech, Time, and Innovation

The issues to bring about a satisfactory resolution will include technological advances, time and the innovation to impliment new processes. It starts with the tech. We are transitioning to long-term online learning principle as we learn how to learn. We are teaching teachers how to teach in this forced digital climate.

As we forge ahead with new ideas and innovation — we lessen a digital-divide and make things better for all. Education has always had to move with the times and now is no different. Teaching and learning is becoming more consistent and uniform as we face the challenges of the digital — and pandemic — learning.

More discussions will need to take place and we’ll want the experts to weighin.

Household distraction and time to complete work are more systemic going forward now. Greater discussions are taking place about the need for parental workplace flexibility amidst pandemic issues.

Large companies and employers in different industries are addressing the challenges with the knowledge that our world has become complicated and won’t continue the same after this current pandemic. Many businesses are working on a departure of what work has looked like in the past. Introductions to flexible working and all that entails is being discussed.

Cost Saving in the Digital Divide

One of the interesting possibilities about education and a potentially huge benefit to more online learning will be cost savings.

Institutions, such as schools, will incur less hard costs with its buildings and leases. Large structures require upkeep, cleaning, power, gas, electricity and extensive repair.

However, moving forward we will still face what we have always faced. Logistics. Finding and retaining good employees in the education sector. Competent salary to retain quality teachers.

As we get better technology in the hands of every student, and pay our teachers a salary comensurate with what their job entails — our education system will get better and we can compete better in the global arena.

But for now — let’s keep the kids engaged — and tackle the digital divide.

Image Credit: julia m cameron; pexels

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How is AI Transforming the Education Tech Space?

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Education has transformed into big-business in the recent COVID times. The US ranks 17th in education performance and 7th as the most literate country in the world. The literacy rate has increased up to 86% in the US. Primary, secondary and higher studies are seeing great improvements, and breaking records almost every year. Here is how AI is transforming the education tech space.

The method of teaching and learning has changed rapidly.

Some people are of the belief that there is nothing like classroom teaching. It’s true that classroom teaching and learning are wonderful — to an extent. But traditional learning comes with its own flaws. It is more general, constant and does not emphasize a self-development method, as much as is needed, nowadays.

Some students do not understand the purpose of learning topics that don’t interest them.

Not learning topics that interest a person has long been the contention of schools. Some think it hinders the whole point of learning in the first place. Especially kids believe that only using individual interests helps them get clear about their ambitions.

Thankfully, this is being changed by artificial intelligence.

As the traditional way of doing things changes rapidly, AI is increasingly becoming a part of daily lives. AI learning is to an extent says its global revenue is expected to be at US$90B by the year 2025.

The education tech space has turned progressively useful and customized because of AI for education.

AI leads to personalized, engaging, and master learning. It has changed the manner in which learning takes place. Useful study material is now available through smart devices. It is now possible to take online tutoring (https://www.tutoreye dot com) classes and improve grades to a great extent.

The percentage of AI will grow by 47.50% until the year 2021. The figure is based on a report published by the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector. This percentage is reflective of a complete change in the education industry.

 How AI is transforming the education tech space.

1. THE TRANSFORMATION: Around 16 million students prepare for exams on a yearly basis in the US. They are always on the lookout for useful study material on the internet. Although the internet provides plenty of help, yet the learning outcomes continue to suffer.

Learning depends largely on the quality of education that is delivered to the students.

Mostly, they don’t find regular online content to be useful. This is because it is just a copied version of traditional textbooks. This content is neither engaging nor interactive.

Finding an effective solution to this problem, artificial intelligence has come into play. It is an impactful and engaging way of controlling the online education space better than ever. It bridges all the gaps where traditional learning used to lack. In addition to being cost-effective, it has improved the learning standards immensely with its benefits.

2. BETTER LEARNING: Artificial Intelligence is connected to education principally because of some tools that help in enhancing skills. The development of education tools has improved the process of teaching and learning to a big extent.

With the help of AI, almost all aspects of traditional education have changed. The virtual classroom offers immersive education in an exciting way. Due to its learning benefits, AI for the education industry will reach a market share of US$ 2 Billion by 2023.

It has lead to a productive, personalized, and optimized process of learning. This allows the teachers to offer a better understanding of the topic to students. Utilizing the qualities of teachers and technology, the AI in education aims to create an enhanced learning scenario for the students.

3. PERSONALIZED LEARNING: The most important priority of all teachers is to ensure that students understand concepts better. However, in a class of 25-30 students, this becomes difficult. This is where AI comes into the picture and allows an edge over traditional teaching methods.

To learn anything in a better way, the students need to understand the importance of what they are being taught.

Personalized learning inspires the students and convinces them that the information is worth learning. Since the year 2018, personalized learning has improved the grades of many students significantly. Reports suggest that between the years 2018-2023, personalized learning will change the education completely.

Elearning platforms utilize AI to develop platforms that offer assistance to school and college-going students. One of the best benefits of personalized learning is the easy recognition of learning gaps. This helps in improving learning by understanding the topics better.

4. INTELLIGENT CONTENT: AI and education are closely related. The modern teaching methods are all that is needed to make sure that students achieve maximum academic success. Engaging and useful content is of primary importance when it comes to learning. Engaging content includes interactive videos, lectures, study material, etc. which helps in grasping the subjects in a better way.

Smart content, right from digitized textbooks to personalized learning interfaces are proving to be useful for students. Companies like Netflix learning and Content Technologies Inc., are creating automated business content for primary and secondary education. Practice exercises, useful digitized content and constant feedback process help in getting a quality education.

The traditional textbooks are taking a completely different turn with AI. Custom textbooks are created for different subjects to help students. The visual medium is used with new and improved learning interfaces to improve the grades of students.

5. GLOBALLY AVAILABLE: Education must not be limited by any boundaries. Artificial Intelligence has transformed the learning scenario by becoming globally available. It is now possible to learn any course from any part of the world. In addition to this, students with impairments can also learn with the help of AI. Problems like illnesses or different languages are not a problem anymore because AI-enabled technology offers new ways to educate everyone.

6. EASY MANAGEMENT: A teacher spends a good period of time in checking the homework, projects and assignments of students. This is where Artificial Intelligence steps in to simplify these tasks. It provides suggestions on how to bridge gaps in the learning process. The machines have been reviewing numerous OMR tests for a long time. Taking this forward, the option of checking written tests is also becoming possible now.

With AI stepping into management tasks, the teachers will be able to spend more time with students. There is an increased potential to make teaching and learning processes proficient.

7. TEACHER SUPPORT: The whole process of teaching and learning is becoming increasingly advanced because of AI. In fact, very soon there will be a lot more available ranging across different types of learning styles.

AI has immense potential in teaching students, helping them with their homework and preparing for tests. To put it in simple words, it helps the teachers to play the role of learning motivators very effectively.

CONCLUSION:

Keeping a track of present trends, AI will become an even more important part of education in the coming times. It has already started to show its advantages in many ways. A report by Market Research Future says that AI for education market share will expand at 38% CAGR till 2023. Going by this, there will be a major improvement in the learning experience.

The benefits of this technology will be experienced by both the school and college-going levels. New and engaging learning systems with better methods are being and will be used to improve the learning encounters. Artificial Intelligence assists by finding a suitable career path based on the specific interests of students. Education might cope up gradually but AI will change it forever.

 

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