Photo from economist.com
Technology has always changed education, and the increased pace of technological development means that change is almost inevitable. Mobile apps and tablets are now being integrated into the learning process both inside and outside the classroom, and stubbornly sticking to old school techniques means losing sight of the many benefits technology-assisted education can provide.
Blended learning has its fair share of both advocates and opponents. This type of mixed learning infuses the old with the new.
Traditional class tasks and assignments get an interactive, connected character by integrating state-of-the-art props like social media usage, online forums, and internet research into pencil-and-paper classwork.
Blended learning emphasizes the significance of the web as a facilitator of learning, where every valuable body of knowledge, support, and resources is available to students to promote their learning.
Collaboration has always been a favored strategy in learning, and with the omnipresence of technology, it is now easier than ever to establish collaborative learning models, especially in after-school hours.
Teachers use collaborative learning models to reach out to the talent already in their classrooms, tapping into their students’ ideas and creativity. Collaboration moves the teacher away from the front of the classroom and lets them join the students in a creative circle, where each student can get into the spotlight. The teacher is regarded as a facilitator of learning in this educational trend, one which is expected to be very popular in 2014.
In this model, an added dimension is offered by the web and associated media, something that makes collaboration possible both during and outside of school hours, because communication is efficient and always available.
Instant communication between students and teachers, and between students in working groups, is made easier with technology. Between the internet, tablets, and cell phones, there are always ways to ensure smooth project completion and enriched collaboration for shared projects.
Today, students also have the advantage of using media-creating tools to complete school projects to get the most out of their learning. This teaches both creativity in design and development and the computer skills that are so necessary to the 21st century world.
Information sharing and interaction is what nurtures new relationships between students and teachers. Technology levels the playing field, allowing a student and a teacher to form a relationship that doesn’t discriminate against rank but sees both as equally contributing to the dissemination of knowledge.
From social media use in classrooms to skill-improvement software that teaches students keyboarding and spelling, technology aids promote learning in a variety of areas.
Personal Learning Network
This trend touches upon the tech-driven teaching approach and it’s essentially the idea of fruitful interactions between a learner and the knowledgeable group of people they are expecting to learn from.
The winning point of this educational trend is that it is learning-driven. While the use of social media and technological equipment can distract learners from learning, PLN’s are created with the sole purpose of knowledge sharing, so there’s no distraction or side-tracking.
Many educators and researchers believe this is the ideal learning model. It focuses on active use of knowledge, following the theory that no knowledge can be truly mastered until it is actively applied by the learner.
This trend calls for significant focus on critical evaluation of knowledge and its application in ways that illustrate the learner’s mastery of that knowledge. Performance-based learning helps the learner link a new skill or knowledge to a specific purpose.
Using any of these new trends in education, the teacher can learn as much as the student, because teaching often becomes bi-directional. As many of these trends are new, a lot of study and testing is expected to take place until the perfect balance between tech-based and conventional teaching methods is found.
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