2019 is proving to be another great year for trends in educational technology. There are many upcoming trends that seem to have a bearing on the future of the sector with respect to technology. The way students are learning is changing, with MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) ever on the rise and new technology trends like virtual reality and augmented reality beginning to look like an actual reality. It's an exciting time all around. But what specific trends should we be looking out for in 2019?
IT Costs will go down
To begin with, IT costs have been falling so far and they are likely to fall even further this year.
Just 15 years ago there was an initiative by Nicholas Negroponte of MIT to bring the costs of a computer down to about $100 per child so every child could have a computer. At the time, the idea seemed quite crazy. However, today, it is not difficult to find a laptop on Amazon that goes for at least $100. The prices will only continue to drop.
One thing that is helping this trend is the fact that computing power increases every year, with more and more powerful laptops being designed and manufactured. This will make it easier for children to have laptops in school, which will bring in a lot more flexibility and diversity to school curricula.
Even large companies like Microsoft seem to be getting with the program. Traditionally, Windows computers have been more expensive than, say, Chromebooks, and that has limited the accessibility of such computers. However, Microsoft is planning to release the Windows Core, which will be an inexpensive and light Windows version that will run on cheaper computers.
Apart from the computing aspect, the cost of education has also gone down, with much information being readily available on the internet. These days you can not only find information but also experts for different things online. You can even find a cheap assignment writing service to help you understand what you learned in class and ace your exams.
The Impact of Big Data and Analytics
Learning analytics have certainly been around for many years now and they will only become more significant with time. In fact, they are likely to take center stage in 2019.
Learning analytics is simply the measure of the students learns, rather than how they use technology. It is a way to measure how effective technology is in facilitating education. It allows you to look at such things as the speed of writing, the error rate, how mature the writing is, and so on, in order to figure out whether the student is becoming a better writer overall. The same can be applied to other subjects as well to determine the rate of development of the student's knowledge and skills.
Big Data and other data analysis techniques are also becoming new technology in education, especially when it comes to normalizing scores and determining how well students are performing in subjective assessments. When a student does a test and gets it marked by a number of teachers, they might get as many different marks as there are teachers. With the help of Big Data and AI, it is possible to normalize scores based on the student's past scores, their improvement over time, and so on. It makes it easier for teachers to assess tests where some degree of subjectivity is involved by making things a lot more objective.
The Role of Machine Learning
Machine learning is already a hot topic in the world of technology in general but it is now proving one of the top technologies for education as well.
Children have already starting to learn how to develop machine learning software in class and then implement them to carry out various real-life tasks. Such tech trends in education would have seemed like the stuff of science fiction only a couple of years ago. Now, it is quite normal and we can expect young children to learn to play with machine learning technologies the way they might learn to play with robotics.
There are many platforms that make this possible, including Raspberry Pi, Google, and others. Google, in particular, has introduced AIY, which stands for Artificial Intelligence Yourself. It is essentially the Do It Yourself of Artificial Intelligence. With this platform, you can use devices and kits to build intelligent software and systems that can recognize speech, pictures, and even speak to you. The children can then tinker around with the systems, learning about them in the process and improving them and using them to do cool stuff.
Technology and education have always been intimate lovers whose stories are intertwined throughout history. On the one hand, education teaches us about technology and helps us use it and improve it. On the other hand, technology informs education by laying out what is possible and what needs to be taught. And at the same time technology makes education easier while the power of education makes technology even more innovative. The two will always dance in harmony and 2019 is one of those years when that dance is especially interesting and exhilarating to watch.
Robert Everett is a fervent follower of technological trends and how they relate to the education sector. As a content writer and researcher, he has written a lot of blog posts about the two. He continues to learn about them every day and spread knowledge about the latest developments to his readers. You can find him on Twitter.