At Seamgen, we have worked with The School Day and FullMeasure, two companies focusing on education at different levels. Needless to say, we have some great experience in this sphere and are offering our thoughts on some rising trends in education technology within the U.S.
From Print to Electronic
Perhaps the most prominent education technology shift is the one from textbooks to e-books across college campuses in America.
Any college student will tell you the main reason for this trend is monetarily based. E-books are significantly less expensive than traditional textbooks, particularly those that are hard-cover.
The College Board reported that students spend over $1,200 on textbooks and school supplies every year. For a college student with a job on the side, this could mean over a month’s salary going directly to this area. No wonder eTextbooks are increasing in popularity. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices have increased at a 3x higher rate than the Consumer Price Index has since the 1980s.
Major textbook publishers themselves are finding that the switch is a necessity in staying relevant in this market. Publishing powerhouse Pearson Ed offers digital copies of textbooks as well as the print textbooks they helped to popularize. Visit their website and notice that they mention their digital textbooks before their print textbooks now.
One common complaint towards early e-books was the decreased level of interactivity associated with a textbook on a computer screen. Unlike a print textbook, it was difficult to bookmark pages and highlight critical information.
Fortunately for the eTextbook industry, this is beginning to change. Now, thanks to companies like Apple and Intel, interactive e-books are being developed, allowing users to highlight and organize smart textbooks notes, more efficient than a print textbook’s capabilities.
Changes in Education Accessibility
As mentioned before, education technology has helped lower the prices college students pay for textbooks, part of the broader trend of technology increasing educational accessibility.
Monetary barriers are large for many lower income families who may not have full internet access. However, with computers and online learning platforms becoming increasingly present in lower education, these barriers are becoming less pronounced.
Several case studies have shown that increased access to computers in school can close gaps in student achievement across the classroom. Also, personal computer access significantly helps struggling/at-risk students.
More initiatives and funding are being created so schools can obtain more computers for students. A class size may be one teacher for 20 students, but personal computers present in the classroom can alleviate pressure on the teacher while allowing students to be more consistently engaged.
Another value to increased computer access in schools is the uniformity of online platforms and exercises. With five computers, five students can simultaneously receive one-on-one instruction, allowing the teacher to focus on a smaller portion of the class at any given time.
Technology has even increased access to higher education for prison inmates. The Last Mile is a program that teaches specialty education skills to current inmates. Education in prison is historically inadequate, and this program is poised to change this; inmates are provided with all the tools they need to start their own tech company, with coding and entrepreneurship at the forefront.
Education Technology: Going Mobile
Seamgen is a leading mobile application development company, and it would break our hearts were we to exclude some mobile education apps changing the landscape of future education. Included are 4 mobile apps that are effective, both with regard to results and cost.
Learning a new language is now easier than ever. Duolingo is proven to be an effective alternative to language classes, and the entire process is completely free. Chosen by Apple as its iPhone App of the Year, it has quickly become a stalwart in the foreign language market, with over 100 million users.
CourseKey brings the idea of a smart classroom to life. Free to teachers who choose to use the platform with their curriculum, CourseKey seamlessly connects students to their teacher and each other. Phones, tablets, and computers can be brought onto the CourseKey platform. The app increases students’ ability to interact with their teacher, along with providing a central place for students to collaborate on classwork.
The app that serves as a knowledge database for a variety of subjects, from math to chemistry to astronomy to geography. Harness the power of an app able to lay out the step-by-step instructions for calculating a pesky derivative. A device able to provide detailed biographies and accomplishments of prominent historical leaders. WolframAlpha provides all this information in a user-friendly format for under three dollars.
A non-profit focused on providing free, quality education worldwide, Khan Academy is bringing this vision to life. With over 10,000 instructive videos covering the majority of school subjects, students can learn at all school levels. Along the way, participate in interactive exercises to test retention and applied skills. Khan Academy tracks your progress and can identify strengths and weaknesses for you to hone in on.
The Future of Education Technology
Education and technology will continue their harmonious marriage in the future. The U.S. has the technological resources necessary; it is only a matter of time before education is completely intertwined with the technology market.
What do you think? Are education and technology as enmeshed as we believe? Any educational apps you believe to be more deserving than the four we highlighted? Connect with us and let us know.