How has EdTech evolved in the modern times?
EdTech(Educational technology) has become a ubiquitous part of the education industry now.
As per the definition on Wikipedia, EdTech refers to the use of both hardware and software to provide education. So the academic knowledge imparted through technology uses learning theories and other streams to ensure that learners have the best possible learning experience. These other streams are psychology, AI, sociology, and computer science.
Educational technology has come a long way from classroom projectors when the students were shown PowerPoint slides on a PC connected to a projector to webinars now where they are given quizzes during a session.
Educational technology is quite relevant for the learners of today, whose skills development is affected by the use of the right tools such as LMS.
The EdTech hence includes virtual reality solutions where students can be made to explore architecture in any part of the world through VR headsets. Apart from that, EdTech also includes podcasting and gamification. Even chatbots are a part of EdTech, ensuring that students are directed to the right web links to solve their queries.
But many EdTech products fail to provide the right kind of experience, due to which the vendor’s services are not taken again. So what should a company or schools look for before getting an EdTech product?
The EdTech products are a major investment for a company, and hence it needs to be cautious while getting them. First of all, a business needs to understand why an EdTech product is needed and how it will affect them. Hence the EdTech Products need to be evaluated in the light of their effects.
The following EdTech technologies are used for various elearning theories:
The EdTech products can teach students as per the learning theories after which they were designed. For example, the behaviorist theory of learning states that a student learns from his environment, and learning is not dependent on any inherent factor like genetics. The environment at home can also influence a student’s studies. Hence the teacher must know the value of reinforcement, making a student learn.
So, the stimulus-response mechanism is at the crux of this theory. When a student is given positive feedback to his response, known as positive reinforcement, he will repeat it once he is given the correct stimulus. For example, if a student gets a party as a treat for scoring well on a test, he is likely to study better(response) whenever he is stimulated to give a test.
So, human beings can be motivated to take the most complicated actions when given a good response to a stimulus. That same stimulus might not be so encouraging for others, but it can initiate the toughest actions for those who have been given a certain response.
The EdTech products, which are based on behaviorism, provide assessments(quizzes) to students after reading. Once the students attempt the test well(response), they are given a good grade(positive reinforcement), or for more positive reinforcement, their score can be made part of a leader board.
The results are quickly shown in such modules to the students rather than delaying them. If the students don’t get good scores on a test(negative reinforcement), they study the material again. Their lower scores can also be advertised to others to get some criticism which makes them work harder in the future.
Cognitivism is also a learning theory that states that learning must attempt to reveal new information to the learners already stored in their minds. Hence, the learners are encouraged to grasp new topics and then think about them to assimilate them into the building blocks of their minds. So, all learning is rearranging the old knowledge in our minds by modifying old blocks(schemata).
Teachers can use this methodology in EdTech by approaching new topics by asking students whether they know something and then adding a new facet. But for introducing new topics, the teacher has to check students’ past knowledge and ensure that any schemata they have in their minds can be strengthened to form new schemata by learning.
For example, students might know about triangles and can be asked for it before they are taught about isosceles and equilateral triangles.
The games are a perfect way to check what students already know about a topic and then introduce new concepts to them. There can be puzzles used to make them acquainted with newer topics. For example, once disequilibrium is created in students’ minds through such puzzles, he is often encouraged to learn the novel thing to complete the game. Due to disequilibrium, the existing schemata of knowledge in his mind breaks down to accommodate new topics and build new schemata.
Constructivism is based on the theory of how learners are responsible for their learning. They can either gain knowledge themselves, which is Cognitivist constructivism. The second way is to gain knowledge through interactions with a social group, i.e., socio-cultural constructivism. The learners can acquire knowledge through both these means.
In the case of EdTech, students ingrain knowledge by working together in groups through mind mapping software. Students can use this software to ensure that they can create such a diagram with a central node in between and then add nodes with the assistance of other students. It allows classmates to learn through collaboration and is ideal for offices’ brainstorming sessions.
Once all the students have added their nodes, including pictures/text or both, then you can rearrange them to provide a better understanding and layout. The best part is students can also create nodes, including documents, hyperlinks, and videos. Students can collaborate on such projects by being present with each other or by getting ideas about a new node from a friend by contacting him online by the chatting option integrated with such a mind mapping software. So, this is how EdTech technology is getting modified to accommodate different kinds of learning theories.