Technology Trends Supporting the Education Sector

As a provider of Managed WiFi for Schools, we understand how embracing technology can improve the teaching experience and influence the outcome for students.

The pace of technological advancement within the workplace is becoming increasingly rapid across all sectors, as industries strive to improve productivity, efficiency, profit and wellbeing for its 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. New technologies needed to 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 how to live with the threats and disruption that a global pandemic causes, technology has never been as critical for pedagogical progress. Educational services are now continually reviewing how they can prepare for a future where responding to global pandemics and other threats doesn’t destroy the education of our future generations.

The education sector, along with other industries, is now looking at options for damage limitation to the workplace, should another unprecedented disaster strike, and technology plays a huge 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 normal, 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’. These trends are already being embraced by the education community and may become as commonplace as Fibre Broadband and site wide school WiFi, for primary to secondary education and beyond.

a teacher using VR tools

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. Schools are now adopting sophisticated technologies to improve the classroom space to form a happy, safe, 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 to a museum or art gallery.

For slightly older learners, there are even immersive virtual reality experiences available that 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 the use of this technology is increasing from nursery level to university.

2. Artificial Intelligence

AI (artificial intelligence) solutions are becoming increasingly prominent within the education sector, including 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. Long hours and a stress-inducing overload of administration tasks is a well known factor in staff leaving the profession. It has also been identified as a key inhibitor for graduate entrance into the world of teaching. Finding ways to reduce the volume of administration through technology may help to reverse this decline in newly qualified teachers.

Artificial intelligence in teaching and learning is also useful for highlighting weaknesses in areas of the curriculum or the testing systems. For example, AI can be used to flag any questions within exam papers that are consistently answered incorrectly. This enables authorities to identify issues with the curriculum or the way in which it is being taught, rather than it continuing to affect student outcomes.

AI is not yet being used at scale for marking high profile qualifications, and the development of the technology is geared towards supporting teachers rather than replacing them, but we certainly expect to see future wide scale use to improve marking quality and consistency.

By leveraging the already powerful AI technology available, we hope that schools will see improvements in exam performance, teacher productivity levels, and even student wellbeing.

apps on a phone screen

3. Apps and Gamification Supported Teaching

App supported learning is another great tool for both teachers and students, as developers continue to expand app functionality and versatility. Apps like Slack, WhatsApp and Remind can be used to support distance teaching, and there are a huge range of educational apps now available, from language apps to spelling and science apps like Dualingo, Spelling Stage and True or False Chemistry.

These apps support learning through gamification and can be used to support distance or in-class learning. The use of these apps benefits students because it brings the teaching into a space they can relate to. The learning 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 are expected to deliver tangible, results based reports and insights at every turn. Ofsted, teachers unions, parents, head of year, the board of directors, the local council; the list of people demanding reports of one sort or another is endless.

Through tracking performance at a student level, and automating the processing of these performances into usable, useful analytics, teachers get valuable insight into how best a student learns.

If these analytics are stored securely on cloud-based servers, saved across multiple platforms, or even just exist as an email attachment, the methods used to capture and process these analytics are almost always exclusively digital.

Again, due to the growing sophistication of the software involved, use of these technologies is only growing. It makes reporting totally customisable to the situation, whether that be rationale for lesson plans for Ofsted, or a report to send to a parent or guardian. Again, this allows teachers to worry less about all of 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 any time soon, and 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.

technology teacher standing in front of a projector with information projected onto her

5. Technological Innovation in the SEND space

Accessibility via technology has always been one of the leading motivating factors to technological innovation.

Interactive learning materials remove several barriers to accessibility, and even something as relatively low tech (when compared with VR technologies) as an ebook can be a great help to a partially sighted, dyslexic or dysnumeric learning. ebooks and shareable PDFs can also be a great 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 useful way.

For learners with educational needs that affect their concentration or cognitive ability to engage critically with learning materials for a sustained period of time, 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 to move towards a more inclusive and supportive learning environment, so that everyone can get the education they are entitled to, regardless of any special educational needs or disabilities.

Technology is a major part of this, and always has been. Screen readers have existed via technology since 1992, so referring to this as a technology trend might be stretching it a little. But even if we consider it an education technology staple, it’s ever evolving and so must be accounted for!

Technology Trends Supporting the Education Sector

A huge factor in successfully adopting these technologies is access to a fast reliable WiFi network. Almost all iterations of content designed for AR, VR and XR are entirely reliant on a solid 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 offers, schools should pay close attention to both the reliability and adaptability of their WiFi systems. If a WiFi network is out of date, or the infrastructure is in need of an upgrade, then it may not offer sufficient connectivity to handle the levels of traffic when all students in a school, year group, or even a class suddenly need to be online simultaneously.

A poor connection can be completely counterproductive to a learning environment, leading to a lesson being quickly derailed. 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 aren’t tied to one location and therefore your student’s learning doesn’t stop as soon as they leave the classroom.

Our new generation of 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 useful 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 currently support over 250 schools throughout the UK, and are proud to offer teachers and students all of 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.

If you’d like to hear more about how Simpli-Fi can support your school with a managed WiFi service, book a call to discuss your requirements.

Related Posts