Nearly one month shy of the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown and we’re still being asked to carry on as best as we can – albeit virtually. It’s fair to say that most of us are getting used to living our lives more remotely than we could ever have envisioned. Across all industry sectors, virtual communication tools have become the norm.
In the education sector specifically, we are settling down into a routine of remote teaching and learning. Yet, despite amazing tools such as Evernote, Slack, Trello, Zoom – the list goes on – this has not been easy for learners and educators alike. The ever-growing, increasing stress on today’s virtual classroom has brought about many new challenges, and we’re scrambling to try to address these hiccups as quickly as possible to ensure our future – the younger generation – doesn’t miss out on the education they need and deserve.
We need disruptive technological development right now to help. We need tech that’s developed and implemented in the right way, with education in mind first and foremost, and equally with a true understanding of its role in the classroom now and in the future.
While the virtual classroom has helped our sector carry on to varying degrees, there’s still a widening gap with remote learning versus face to face learning. It may seem obvious, but the tech innovation on the market still needs to address this – mainly in two ways:
- Peer-to-peer collaboration:
With today’s students being starved of peer-to-peer communication, the need for tools and technology that can facilitate collaboration in an environment as close to face-to-face as possible is absolutely critical. Research has shown that peer-to-peer revision can result in 80% retention, and that learners remember more when multiple senses are stimulated, as is the case with social peer interactions.With so many of our students being starved of socialisation today, the ability to improve retention from multiple stimulus with real peer-to-peer support must be an absolute core component to any tech development aimed at making the learning process better and more efficient going forward.
- Student-teacher face time:
As more teaching, lecturing and tutoring is delivered remotely, there’s an increasing role for technology to become a glue of sorts that brings educators and pupils together in real-time to help teachers assess students’ abilities and work in real-time on an ongoing, consistent basis – almost as they would do in a real classroom setting. We need to arm our educators with powerful technology that truly helps to support the process of learning, growing with this ever-changing environment.We know by working with teachers and tutors that they are constantly exploring new ways to manage these ever-growing changes in the best possible, and least disruptive, way for their students. Technology that not only serves as a teaching and learning aid, but that goes beyond this to help provide insight into the way in which students learn, can help teachers tailor lessons and assess students’ progress and long-term goals – even from within the limitations of a virtual classroom.
The role of technology
There is some really clever technology on the market today, so why are educators still finding it hard to pinpoint and integrate this into their everyday teaching routines?
We have seen an increasing need for technology in education over the past decade or more; this past year has just accelerated the urgent adoption of it for very obvious reasons. The role of technology in today’s educational landscape is unbelievably crucial, and will continue to be woven into the very fabric of its future post-pandemic. However, we need to change our approach to the way in which we create and develop tech for education if we are going to close the gap between what can truly be achieved with the right tech versus making do with a few tools that alleviate some of the pressure.
There is no one-size-fits all-approach to education and as such, no one solution that addresses all of the virtual challenges faced day-to-day. Learning is taught, consumed and applied differently from one pupil and one teacher to the next.
Developing technology with educators in mind
Until now, the tech tools on the market have often been created in silo without input from educators. The platforms on the market to date have been good enough to fill the urgent need we now have for virtual learning; however, many of these have been developed pre-pandemic, and therefore not created for the situation we find ourselves in right now.
If technology is going to truly serve a purpose and fit our needs for today’s increasingly remote educational landscape, we need to develop tools from the ground up. There’s a growing responsibility to ‘befriend’ educators today, to work closely with them to take direct feedback from teachers and tutors who can help shape and customise tech as we develop it so that we ensure it fits specific needs and addresses the exact challenges they face each and every day on the ‘virtual’ ground.
Brightening the future for tomorrow’s generation
It goes without saying that today’s younger generations have suffered a great deal in their education at the heels of the pandemic. We’re still yet to see what the true impact might be on these generations who have had the pleasure of learning and socialising with peers in-person completely stripped away.
We need tech that’s developed and implemented in the right way, with education in mind first and foremost, and equally with a true understanding of its role in the classroom now and in the future
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that today’s business leaders, tech innovators and entrepreneurs alike have a responsibility to tomorrow’s future; we cannot continue to develop technology toys and tools for the sake of it without continuous, direct and involved input from the educators on the front line.
By truly marrying today’s tech with our education needs, and by bringing our communities together to work out long-term solutions, we have the power to create incredibly powerful tools that can change the process of learning and help us push the boundaries of education in a way that enables tailored teachings to help students perform better, whether in a face-to-face or remote capacity. Learning from the past year, we must prepare for all scenarios as we look to the next decade of learning.
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