We often think of technology as a new app or the latest smartphone, but few of us think of the power tech has in education. Although some time might have passed since you were last in school, tech is being used to update and advance our current education system.
Teachers and students use it in a variety of ways to boost the learning experience and make education smarter than ever. Keep reading if you're curious about education technology and its benefits, ed tech companies, and common education technology terminology.
Education technology is a classification of technology that is used to promote and access education. This can encompass hardware, software, and other related items. These tools help students attend their classes, work with each other, or learn in a new way, inside the classroom or outside of it. Ed tech is often a synonym for education technology.
The easiest area to see the benefits of education technology is in remote learning. Remote learning is either attending lectures or classes virtually with video or audio communication to participate. Having a video call set up for a class of students allows people to attend no matter where they're located, bringing education to even more people.
Online courses and digital textbook libraries help students access their work virtually, turn in homework online, and learn at their own speed. If a student has trouble with one section or really knows another, they can move ahead or relearn sections as they need it.
Digital repositories of teaching materials, videos, and slide decks used can be saved and sent out for students to go back through later. It's easy to see what material you have available to teach with and saves energy of having to look through piles of old paper resources.
Here are some popular ed tech companies and products you should know about:
Cengage is an online textbook and course distributor that also focuses on testing. Students can buy their textbooks for their specific course and take notes and quizzes all within the Cengage portal. This makes it a one-stop-shop for learning tools for students.
Civitas Learning is a company dedicated to improving student outcomes in colleges and universities. Their tools are used to track student data to see which subjects or areas they might need help in, as well as what fields they might work well in.
Teachers can use Google Classroom to organize assignments and create a collaborative online learning environment for students. It's an all-in-one online tool where educators can create classes, distribute and grade assignments, provide feedback, and connect with students.
Kahoot! is a quiz game that can be created by teachers and answered by students about any topic they want. Students answer questions together and win points for the more answers they get correct. It's a fun way to get students learning in a format they're interested in.
Apex Learning has online courses that accompany middle and high school classes. They can be assigned by teachers to supplement what students are currently learning and keep students on top of their subjects if they need more help.
Chegg is a marketplace for textbooks, allowing students to buy or rent physical or digital copies to save money. The site also has tutorials, online tutoring, and practice problems for students to work on.
SMART Technologies makes a host of technology solutions for schools and students. Their most popular item is the SMART Board, a digital screen that functions as a whiteboard for students and teachers to write and demonstrate on. Drawings can be recorded and copied for further use and study. It does everything else a whiteboard does, plus it has the functionality of a projector screen and a computer.
Asynchronous classes are lectures or seminars that are pre-recorded for students to consume on a self-paced schedule. Coursework could be completely asynchronous, or asynchronous classes could be used to supplement live discussions.
Blended learning refers to a course of study that combines online and live and/or in-person learning. The distinguisher between online learning and blended learning is that blended learning must involve live discussions or lectures, whereas online learning can be completely asynchronous.
A content management system (CMS) is a software that lets users create, publish, and share online content. Colleges and universities that publish online course content might post assignments or reading material using a CMS as the backbone of their website.
Distance learning refers to students who take courses without physically sitting in a classroom on campus where courses are being taught. Distance learning can take the form of hybrid learning, fully-online learning, or taking courses at a satellite campus.
Education technology is a classification of technology that is used to promote and access education. This can encompass hardware, software, and other related items that help students and teachers gain more from their classroom experiences.
A flipped classroom is an educational model that changes the traditional learning method by having students complete what would be considered "homework", in class with a teacher present. Instead of doing homework after school hours are over, students watch instructional videos or other pieces of content and activities and come to school to do actual work with their teachers. Students can learn at their own pace, and use their class time to have questions answered and get help with their work.
Hybrid learning is an educational model where some students join class in-person while others join remotely. Hybrid learning can combine synchronous learning with asynchronous learning elements like online forums, discussion boards, and other pieces of digital content.
Instructional technology is a field that creates technologies to assist in instruction and learning. It covers the software and hardware needed to make instruction as easy and dynamic as possible for teachers and students.
A learning management system is a software application that covers the administration, tracking, and delivery of educational courses or lectures to students. As students complete their work, the LMS moves them along in the process that is mapped out. It usually includes textbooks, related material, and online tests and quizzes all packaged into one online portal.
A massive online open course is a course that is intended to have as many virtual participants as possible. It's a free ungated resource for anyone interested in a topic to join. MOOCs allow for a wider range of communication and collaboration due to the sheer amount of users involved.
Online program management is an area of digital learning in which an outside company or resource builds out courses or educational products in advance for students to use. It's easier than having one teacher set up a whole online course and figure out how to program it all. Online course access can be purchased through the school for students or by students themselves.
A student information system is a software system devoted to tracking and making analyses of student data. It keeps track of information like student test scores, attendance, and subjects they've taken. Student information systems can be used to see where students need more help or how to best assist them.
Synchronous classes are classes in which all students and their teachers are online at the same time. Unlike other online classes where students attend at their own pace, these have designated start times and are intended to mimic a normal physical classroom. Students participate in lectures and discussions in real-time, without having to wait until later to respond.
A virtual classroom is an online room where students attending a virtual class learn and ask questions. A virtual classroom lets everyone hear or see the others that are there, and answer questions as they come up. It brings the benefits of a physical classroom online.
A webinar is a presentation focused on a specific topic that is hosted and attended virtually. Attendees can sign up ahead of time and are taken to a digital lecture where slides, video, or other multimedia will be presented. These are done with the help of video conferencing technology and software.
To learn more, read our post with different distance learning statistics next.