EdTech (Educational Technology), or E-learning are becoming increasingly popular ways to enrich or even partly replace current education systems. Not only does it provide a way for students to plan their homework and track their overall progress, EdTech is also a great solution for students who are unable to go to school physically because of an illness, disability, or other reasons. More recently, digital education has proven itself to be essential in times of crisis such as the lockdowns due to the Coronavirus that closed down schools and universities around the world. Digital education tools formed a perfect solution for students to schedule their weekly tasks, and stay up-to-date with their school work.
Digital applications offering educational tools free the way towards a worldwide increase in education, and with it an increased chance to find a job and live independently. Students who used to be unable to go to school because of a disability, financial lackings, or geographical hindrances can now access an already immensely diverse offering of educational tools on the internet.
Technologies that are changing education
Implementing educational technologies in application development has resulted in a wide variety of E-learning tools that change the way we learn and teach. From educational videos on YouTube to gamified applications, EdTech is continuously evolving and improving, and as a result, has become more and more accessible for students and teachers with different backgrounds. Here are some examples of technologies that are greatly impacting the world of education:
Virtual Learning Environments
Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are sets of learning and teaching tools made to improve and enhance the overall experience of online education by implementing modern technologies. Generally, a VLE consists of the following components:
- Student and progress tracking
- Tools for submitting and grading assignments
- Tools for planning and managing courses
- Online support for teachers and students
- Online communication tools like chats and group discussions
- Information libraries with access to digital learning materials such as academic journals, videos, images, podcasts, etc
Examples of widely used VLEs are Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas and Google Classroom. Although VLEs have been around for a while now, they were often limited to desktop devices. More recent developments include the use of mobile devices, which turned these VLEs into cross-platform applications and made them more accessible.
The World Wide Web is experiencing an information overload, among which an extensive offer of online courses. From educational videos discussing a wide variety of topics for refreshing your knowledge, to websites and platforms designed for offering professional courses including legitimate certificates to boost your CV, it’s all there, just a few clicks away. In our blog about growing smarter during the worldwide lockdown we already discussed a few examples of platforms providing online education. Let’s have a look at some platforms offering courses for the broadest variety of topics:
- Google Digital Garage: free and paid courses, for beginner to expert level, with professional certifications.
- Udemy: free and low-priced online courses on any topic imaginable.
- Coursera: free and mid-priced professional courses given by world-class universities and companies.
- EdX: nonprofit and founded by Harvard and MIT, high-quality learning experiences
- MIT OCW: free courses on everything technology-related, from maths to programming and entrepreneurship
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual and augmented reality technologies involve students and teachers in the study material in a totally new way. VR allows students to interact with learning material in a virtual environment, which greatly improves the engagement and learning experience. Think of, for example, a geography or history class. Rather than going through books with loads of text and a few low-quality pictures, students can wear VR gear and immerse themselves in historical events or geographical environments as if they are physically there. Or, students that aren’t able to be present in class for whatever reason can make use of VR to feel the real-life experience of sitting in a classroom and interacting with their classmates.
VR and AR allow new learning environments we have never experienced before, and it won’t take long until it’s a standard educational tool in classrooms all over the world. Apart from the fun and engaging experience, it also offers a solution for learners to practice certain actions that involve dangerous risks in real life, like driving or flying lessons. VR can offer the opportunity to train these skills in a safe environment where students can learn from their faults without serious consequences.
Implementing gamification in educational applications can greatly improve the interaction between the app’s features and its users. Especially in the case of education, gamified features can stimulate students to actively participate with the course material. Customizable application environments and profiles improve the user experience for students. They can change the layout of the app to express themselves and turn the app into a personal environment rather than a formal and detached interface.
Another great example of how gamification in app development can improve the learning experience of students are profile completion bars and loyalty & reward systems, which stimulate the interaction between in-app features and users. For example, students can be rewarded with points for completing their profile, or uploading their homework in time. After completing a row of assignments and earning enough points, they can exchange these points for certain rewards, like discounts on customizable content for the app or physical rewards like study materials and such.
The future of digital learning
As you can see, there are countless ways for technology to immensely improve the experience of education. Not only for students and teachers in a school setting, but for any educational purpose you can think of. In our blog about the adoption of new technologies in businesses, we explain the importance of closely involving your team with the adoption of new technologies. Surgeons can learn how to operate surgery robots by practicing in VR environments, and administrators can get familiar with new automation technologies by watching instructional videos. Nothing seems impossible with the emergence of digital education and E-learning.
At Lizard Global, we realize the importance of unlimited access to education, especially in situations where access to schooling isn’t available. That’s why our skilled team is experienced in implementing modern technologies in educational applications. Our partnership with Tracker Apps showcases the benefits of educational technologies, and how the development of these apps can contribute to an improved overall learning experience for both teachers and students. Tracker Apps provides users with two applications focussing on tracking students’ learning progress, and documenting feedback on their learning experiences so schools can improve their teaching strategies.
Want to know more about what we can do for your educational app idea? Get in contact with us via our social media channels or website, and we gladly lend a hand in the realization of your app idea.