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10 Ways Technology is Re-shaping Education

Innovations in education technology have greatly changed every aspect of our lives in the last several years. Ten years ago, cell phones were seen more as a convenience than a necessity, students still lugged backpacks filled with fifty pounds of textbooks across campus, and the thought of cars driving themselves seemed absurd.

In just a short time, major innovations in technology and education-based learning have greatly changed our perspectives about how we teach learners of all grade levels.

Technology in schools has been equally affected by innovation, both in the subject matter we teach, and the tools we use for learning.

ipad and tablet

Here are 10 ways technology is re-shaping the way students learn, and what we can expect to come in the future...

  • iPad programs. Let's start with the most obvious change in technology in the classroom. Those heavy backpacks have become a lot lighter for most students thanks to the use of iPads by many schools to help students consolidate their learning materials in one place that weighs less than five pounds. iPads offer a place where all books can be sourced, as well as apps and additional online resources that make learning more efficient.
  • Social media. Think Facebook and Twitter are just for procrastinating your homework? Think again. Classrooms across the nation are using both networks to engage learning, track coursework and help peers and students connect in ways that don't make students roll their eyes. Plus, now that everyone's parents have Facebook accounts, this gives them an opportunity to see what their kids are up to in the classroom.
  • Virtual reality. Remember when video screen conversations only took place in futuristic cartoons? Now we have Google hangouts, FaceTime, and other video tools for real-time engagement. Get ready for virtual reality devices created by companies, such as Google, that will make field trips to the Sahara and other foreign places a "reality" for students who can't afford to leave their classrooms in US cities. These tools will also help students better comprehend complex subject matter that lectures, pictures, and chalkboards simply can't convey.
  • 3-D printing. Who would have ever thought you could print out 3-dimensional objects, such as tools, toys, medical devices, and anything else you can think of? Now, it's starting to happen, and this technology is only going to grow. Soon, students will be required to understand and use 3-D printers to function in their everyday lives. Look out for 3-D printers to appear in schools, and homes in the coming years.
  • Blackboard education software. This education tool is already utilized in elementary, secondary, and university classrooms across the nation. Not only does this tech help students, teachers, and businesses utilize learning tools efficiently, schools can pull important data analytics that help improve student performance and curriculum.
  • Coding in the classroom. Did you ever think that the importance of learning cursive would be replaced by learning how to code? It's happening right now. Coding has been coined the alphabet of the future by many education specialists. Now, students as young as 5 and 6 are learning how to code and program computers. Courses that teach kids to code are increasingly common, and may be required in the near future.
  • Wearable technology. Physical education may no longer seem to have the importance in school systems that it used to. But with childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes becoming common in today's youth, wearable tech, such as smart watches may help track and encourage physical education in young kids. Tracking steps, heart rate, and tying goals to incentives can help school districts stress the importance of health during busy school days.
  • Podcasts, blogs, and class websites.Not only are classrooms connecting on social media, they are creating their own websites, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of media that promote learning within and outside of their classroom. This gives students active participation in the education process. No longer are they just sitting and absorbing information. In today's education landscape, students can truly be participants in the teaching process.
  • Foreign language learning. Thanks to online tools, students can learn languages straight from natives of countries all over the world. Not only that, but they can connect with whole classrooms of learners in foreign countries for an interactive learning experience that helps students understand the importance of functioning in a world that is increasingly connected. Globalization is no longer a debate - it's just the way the world works in today's tech-driven world.
  • Storytelling through multimedia. Sometimes the arts and storytelling get lost in the world of technology, which we typically attribute to math and science. But students can exercise their creative skills through multimedia storytelling while learning how to create and edit videos that present ideas through narrative devices. Music students can also benefit by using recording software, such as Garage Band.

These are just a handful of ways technology for teachers is already shaping the learning environments for the next generation of leaders and workers. Who knows what the next ten years will bring - but we're sure it will be exciting and intriguing!