5 technologies transforming education right now


From iPads in classrooms to mobile apps for educators, new technologies are changing how teachers teach and educational institutions are run. Whether they flip the classroom model, blend the learning experience or just make educators' lives easier, lots of innovators are talking about technology and how it is transforming education as we know it.

To give you an idea of what's coming, we've turned the spotlight on five technologies that are driving the ed tech revolution. Here's what you need to know:

1. ONLINE LEARNING
Online learning, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) in particular, is being billed as the next big thing in education right now. Whether or not MOOCs will empty classrooms is still up for debate, but students can already get a nationally-accredited education on the internet, as this list of the best online programs for bachelor's degrees goes to show. Educators may ponder the consequences of MOOCs' disruption of copyright and higher ed, but providers are already hosting MOOCs for educators and delivering online learning to K-12 schools. Online learning may never replace an in-person learning experience, but they are already flipping the outdated classroom model and disrupting education as we know it. 

2. ALTERNATIVE CREDENTIALING PLATFORMS
As tuition soars at universities across the U.S., the value of a university degree is dropping. Prestigious diplomas are still well-regarded but they only reveal one dimension of a given individual's educational experience. In response to the problem, alternative credentialing platforms are seeking to quantify skills learned both online and in the real world. As cheap and convenient online competitors pop out of the woodwork, look for these alternative credentialing approaches to provide students with a more comprehensive way to show off what they've learned.

3. TABLETS AND SMARTPHONES
When tablets and smartphones first came out, few expected them to play an important role in education, but that's exactly what happened. Higher ed institutions are using iPhones in their classrooms, iPads are being implemented in schools and manufacturers are even tailoring iPad accessories to education. Tablets and smartphones may not revolutionize education by themselves, but they provide educators with a highly engaging and increasingly effective tool to reach students. 

4. E-TEXTBOOKS
With the death of print and the advent of digital, it was only inevitable that electronic textbooks would follow. The increased use of e-textbooks is leading to paperless classrooms, while students no longer have to carry backpacks and educators can track student reading habits. There are a lot of e-textbook providers out there right now and the competitive marketplace is spurring providers to constantly improve their offerings. E-textbooks are no cure-all for educators, but as they gain widespread implementation, they will contribute to an increasingly streamline and interactive learning experience.

5. LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Technology doesn't just disrupt education; it makes it easier for educators to do their job. That's the case with learning management systems, which track and monitor student progress and effectively are data analytics for education, simplifying the process so that teachers can focus on what they do best. As they get phased in, expect LMS systems to join the list of technologies changing the way we think about teaching.

 


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