By Lee Sharma, founder and CEO of ed-tech disruptor Simply Do Ideas, a new online platform which supports the development and growth of early-stage business ideas
Sitting in a lecture theatre being talked at while an overhead projector whirs away at the front is an image of the past. Or it certainly should be. Research suggests that a person has an average attention span of anything from 10 minutes to as low as just eight seconds, so how can we expect them to sit in silence and absorb a continuous stream of information for hours at a time?
While seminars, workshops and group assignments are already a widely-adopted method to expand upon one-way learning, we’re seeing a new movement which is disrupting the entire education system we’ve previously known. And this is being driven by the ed-tech revolution already changing how education is being delivered.
360-degree learning has long been a recognised technique in engaging students; shaking up how space is used in a learning environment and how teachers and lecturers deliver their lessons. But, with the advances of technology, we’re seeing a new dimension of 360-degree learning and we’re only just on the threshold of realising the enormous potential that this holds. We’re not just talking about reconfiguring the layout of a classroom or lecture hall, we’re breaking down the physical confines of these walls altogether, transcending traditional boundaries and reimagining the entire learning experience.
In the 21st century, technology, particularly mobile technology, is no longer a luxury or a dispensable add-on. It’s become an innate part of our lives, and more so with each new generation. Research has identified the extent that mobile technology plays in the lives of millennials. However, when you consider that even babies can swipe left and right on the screen of an iPhone, choose a video to watch or open a game app, it’s impossible to see a future where technology isn’t entirely embedded into the lives of the next generation.
Mobile technology allows the teacher to step into the world of the learner 24-7
Those with closed minds will only see mobile technology as a distraction, but we need to open our eyes and embrace its potential to engage with young people in a way that was never before achievable. Firstly, is the role it has to play in creating a new form of accessibility. Mobile technology allows the teacher to step into the world of the learner 24-7. The learning journey is no longer confined to within the classroom or lecture theatre with a scheduled time and location for it to resume. Ed-tech is all about facilitating that journey at any time, in any place and without distraction.
No longer does teaching have to be mass delivered with an inevitable one-size-fits-all approach. Mobile and online environments allow for personalised learning; catering to the differing needs, abilities and interests of the entire class. Teaching can be delivered at different levels with additional content or support to learners who need it.
We’ve already seen this take place first hand through the implementation of our ed-tech platform within schools, colleges and universities up and down the country. It’s about teaching young people the fundamentals and then helping them apply it to real-world, individual experiences and ideas. The learner can develop their skills in way that best suits them, in and out of the classroom. Engagement and progress can be monitored on an ongoing basis and education providers can easily cater for different learning styles using technology – so they can include videos, PDFs and chat functions to create a better suited learning experience based on individual needs. Online platforms also provide an environment where you don’t have to fear ridicule for getting an answer wrong and you can ask any question at any time. The learner’s role has shifted from passive recipient to active participant. And, a future possibility for ed-tech is also the potential to gamify the testing process, which could change how we view exams. Ed-tech is an opportunity to empower teaching staff, not replace them
Ed-tech is an opportunity to empower teaching staff, not replace them
Ed-tech is an opportunity to empower teaching staff, not replace them. Teachers must always facilitate the learning process in education and I strongly believe that mobile technology is a tool to enable learning rather than in any way replace the human element. The biggest danger that education providers face is that of not embracing ed-tech and its future potential. A revolution in learning is being pioneered and we’re set to see the biggest change to education at a faster pace than at any other point in history. Failing to become an adopter, advocate and leader will only serve to keep our ability to educate standing still while the rest fly ahead.