SD-WAN technology has gained popularity over the last few years as organisations seek to modernise their network infrastructure.
Technology trends supporting the education sector
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As a provider of Managed WiFi for Schools, we understand how embracing technology can improve the teaching experience and influence student outcomes.
The pace of technological advancement within the workplace is becoming increasingly rapid across all sectors as industries strive to improve the productivity, efficiency, profit and wellbeing of their employees.
The education sector is no exception, and the unwelcome arrival of Covid-19 has forced the education community out of the classroom and into an eLearning environment. As a result, new technologies must be embraced to assist with online and distance learning, along with safeguarding the wellbeing of the education community as they enter a new era of teaching.
A New Era of Teaching
As we continue our education on living with the threats and disruption that a global pandemic causes, technology has never been as critical for pedagogical progress. Educational services continually review how they can prepare for a future where responding to global pandemics and other threats doesn’t destroy our future generations’ education.
The education sector and other industries are now looking at options for damage limitation to the workplace should another unprecedented disaster strike. Technology plays a massive role in this ‘new normal’. We are just fortunate in education that generation-alpha and beyond have grown up in a digital world, where rapid and unexpected change is already their routine, so getting them to embrace new technology is easy; the challenge is how to blend the technology with the teaching to achieve the best learning outcomes.
The range of technology solutions that can assist and inspire more innovative ways of teaching is hard to keep up with, so we have picked our top, most influential technology trends that may form part of that ‘new normal’. The education community is already embracing these trends, and may become as commonplace as Fibre Broadband and site-wide school WiFi for primary and secondary education.
1. Simulation-Based Learning For Students
From a developmental point of view, it is an undisputed fact that a child’s learning environment is a vital component for a positive outcome. As a result, schools are now adopting sophisticated technologies to improve the classroom space to form a happy, safe, and engaging learning experience.
AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and XR (extended reality) hardware and software are developing exponentially and are the perfect solution for curating enhanced learning environments.
For many schools, virtual or extended reality options can be a more cost-effective way of facilitating unique experiences without the cost of the actual event. For example, a school trip to a museum could be substituted for a virtual reality experience at a museum or art gallery.
Even immersive virtual reality experiences available for slightly older learners can offer insights into what other planets might look like based on existing science models.
Depending on curriculum requirements and age suitability, AR, VR, and XR can be invaluable tools for immersive learning, and this technology is increasing from the nursery level to the university.
2. Artificial Intelligence
AI (artificial intelligence) solutions are becoming increasingly prominent within the education sector, including the widespread adoption of AI teaching aids to automate elements like marking multiple-choice tests or homework.
Anything that frees up teachers to dedicate more time to face-to-face teaching and interaction, rather than spending hours evaluating student work, is a welcome addition to the community. Unfortunately, long hours and a stress-inducing overload of administration tasks are well-known factors in staff leaving the profession. It has also been identified as a critical inhibitor for graduate entry into teaching. Finding ways to reduce the administration volume through technology may help reverse this decline in newly qualified teachers.
Artificial intelligence in teaching and learning is also helpful in highlighting weaknesses in areas of the curriculum or the testing systems. For example, AI can flag any questions within exam papers that are consistently answered incorrectly. This enables authorities to identify issues with the curriculum or how it is being taught rather than it continuing to affect student outcomes.
AI is not yet used at scale for marking high-profile qualifications, and the technology development is geared towards supporting teachers rather than replacing them. Still, we expect future wide-scale use to improve keeping quality and consistency.
By leveraging the already powerful AI technology available, we hope schools will see improvements in exam performance, teacher productivity levels, and student wellbeing-.
3. Apps and Gamification Supported Teaching
App-supported learning is another excellent tool for teachers and students as developers expand app functionality and versatility. For example, apps like Slack, WhatsApp and Remind can be used to support distance teaching. A vast range of educational apps is now available, from language apps to spelling and science apps like Duolingo, Spelling Stage and True or False Chemistry.
These apps support learning through gamification and can support distance or in-class learning. These apps benefit students by bringing the teaching into a space they can relate to. In addition, the knowledge is environmentally contextualised by the app framing, making it easier for learners to connect with the material.
4. Data and Insight Reporting as a Teaching Tool
Teachers and learning institutions must deliver tangible, results-based reports and insights at every turn. Ofsted, teachers’ unions, parents, head of the year, the board of directors, the local council; the list of people demanding reports of one sort is endless.
Through tracking performance at a student level and automating the processing of these performances into usable, sound analytics, teachers get valuable insight into how best a student learns.
Suppose these analytics are stored securely on cloud-based servers, saved across multiple platforms, or as an email attachment. In that case, the methods used to capture and process these analytics are almost always digital.
Again, due to the growing sophistication of the software involved, the use of these technologies is only growing. It makes reporting customisable to the situation, whether that be the rationale for lesson plans for Ofsted or a report to send to a parent or guardian. Again, this allows teachers to worry less about the extraneous tasks that cause so much stress to their emotional wellbeing and focus on teaching the class in front of them.
The trend towards more insightful reporting isn’t going away soon. As reporting software is being adopted as a standard across the country, it becomes increasingly likely that Ofsted will make a deeper level of reporting, something it scrutinises more closely during inspections.
5. Technological Innovation in the SEND space
Accessibility via technology has always been one of the leading motivating factors for technological innovation.
Interactive learning materials remove several barriers to accessibility. Even something as relatively low-tech (compared with VR technologies) as an ebook can significantly help a partially sighted, dyslexic or dysnumeric learner. Ebooks and shareable PDFs can also be an excellent resource for students unable to travel or gain access to a library, as it brings the library to them!
Interactive learning experiences such as multi-touch ebooks, immersive learning experiences, and apps often give SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) learners an opportunity to engage with a lesson or source of information in a much more meaningful and helpful way.
For learners with educational needs that affect their concentration or cognitive ability to engage critically with learning materials for a sustained period, the ability to record a lesson and upload it to the cloud for access at a later time can be invaluable.
Education is always striving towards a more inclusive and supportive learning environment, so everyone can get the education they are entitled to, regardless of any special educational needs or disabilities.
Technology is a significant part of this and always has been. Screen readers have existed via technology since 1992, so referring to this as a technology trend might stretch it a little. But even if we consider it an education technology staple, it’s ever-evolving and must be accounted for!
Technology Trends Supporting the Education Sector
Access to a fast, reliable WiFi network is a huge factor in successfully adopting these technologies. Almost all iterations of content designed for AR, VR and XR entirely rely on a reliable internet and WiFi connection for the experience to remain fully immersive.
To make the most out of the opportunities that EdTech provides, including AI and app-supported learning, schools should pay close attention to both the reliability and adaptability of their WiFi systems. For example, suppose a WiFi network is outdated, or the infrastructure needs an upgrade. In that case, it may not offer sufficient connectivity to handle the traffic levels when all students in a school, year group, or even a class suddenly need to be online simultaneously.
A poor connection can be entirely counterproductive for a learning environment, quickly derailing a lesson. A Managed WiFi service will ensure that your network infrastructure is fit for purpose and a WiFi solution is installed that will support multiple devices and site-wide coverage. With Simpli-Fi’s Managed WiFi solution, access to learning materials isn’t tied to one location; therefore, your student’s learning doesn’t stop as soon as they leave the classroom.
Our new eLearners expect a fast and robust WiFi service to be available throughout the school or campus. This means that a fit-for-purpose WiFi solution isn’t just a valuable commodity, but a necessity, to facilitate a high standard of learning and achieve desired outcomes.
With Simpli-Fi, you receive state-of-the-art WiFi network solutions, meaning that the budget you allocate to technology-based learning will be fully supported by a WiFi network that can do the job.
We support over 250 schools throughout the UK and are proud to offer teachers and students all the benefits of wireless networking for as little as 40p per pupil per month.
Get in touch with Simpli-Fi today to discuss how the benefits of managed wireless internet technology can improve your school’s performance and support your teaching community’s wellbeing-.
Book a call to discuss your requirements if you’d like to hear more about how Simpli-Fi can support your school with a managed WiFi service.