Technology is helping tutors, teachers, and other education professionals go beyond the classroom and textbooks to help students learn.
Online courses and lectures, 3-D modeling, videos, infographics, and other online media encourage students to go further than just memorization and notetaking. Technological developments allow students to fully immerse themselves in the material, revisit lectures, and gain a better understanding of the material through various pathways of learning.
New technology is particularly beneficial where traditional methods of teaching have fallen short. Tutors are often brought in when a student is experiencing difficulty understanding a topic. Typically the more abstract subjects, like math or physics, require more assistance for students.
Advances in technology have made learning much easier for students who learn visually--those who need to see representations or videos of topics that are hard to understand in standard textbook and lecture methods. Tutors have an opportunity where most teachers do not--to implement new technology to help their students learn.
Digital simulations and models go well beyond 2-D representations or a process flowchart. Certain concepts are a challenge to understand when the student is unable to see the behavior in action (like physics). With technology, tutors and teachers are able to bring simulations and modeling into the classroom, assisting students who have difficulty grasping the information through verbal discussion. Technological simulations allow students to have a hands-on experience, which often helps them retain information better. It’s like having lab in the middle of class.
Technology removes physical barriers and allows you to learn from anywhere in the world. This greatly opens up the world of education. For example, you could learn your math lessons from an online math tutor program that comes with a variety of support, rather than trying to figure it out on your own. Or, why not get help with science homework with an online physics tutor from a prestigious physics program, rather than paying the kid from down the street?
If you’re trying to learn another language, online language sites that connect students with native speakers through videoconferencing can be an amazing educational opportunity. The social interaction and opportunity to learn about another culture without having to relocate to another country is priceless.
Technology also enables students to work together on group projects more easily. Various platforms like Podio, Google Drive, Basecamp, and Dropbox make it simpler than ever to share information, documents and research, while assigning tasks and responsibilities.
With many recent publications, studies, and books coming out through online platforms, lugging around heavy books will soon be a thing of the past. Instead of having to buy heavy sets of books, additional readings, and lecture notes at the start of each quarter, semester or year, textbooks will literally just be a swipe away on your iPad or tablet.
The recent introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which enables top tier universities’ classes to become increasingly available to the general public, allows for more people to have online access to some of the best education in the world. As the courses and platforms become further advanced, the college may recommend tutors in physics, math, or other subjects, and even provide online tutoring services.
Online programs make it easy for people to gain a career that, several years ago, was only possible with four years on a university campus. Whether it is a desire to become a nurse’s aid, a technician, or even how to become a medical assistant, these are all viable options accessible online. With such great online support, this pathway to a career is wide open.
Unfortunately, in-class lectures are not the easiest things to remember. Between rapidly copying down notes and asking questions, it seems like you are always playing catch-up. Fortunately, lectures can now be pre-recorded and accessed anytime, anywhere, and as frequently as the student needs. No more missing out on valuable information—with the notes and lectures available at any time for students to visit at their leisure, they are able to invest more attention to in-session lectures.
This means that classroom time can be more devoted to supplementing lecture content through discussions and Q&A. Teachers and tutors also have more ways to improve, based on the analytics and questions received post lectures.
Technological advances are changing the face of education. While teachers might be slightly restricted by funding or school policies, private institutions and online tutor programs can harness the benefits of technology to improve the learning of their students.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California. With a great interest in technology, her writings have covered the many different facets that come along with it. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook to find out more!