While the educational sector is typically viewed as being slow to change, advances in edtech (or educational technology) are starting to make themselves felt.
As educators and universities become more willing to embrace the realities of technology in today’s
educational environment, traditional ways of doing things are getting disrupted.
Embracing tech tools and software has the opportunity to streamline the educational experience, improve accessibility and offer new resources to college students. But far more importantly, students will start getting greater access to the resources they need to become tech fluent — an absolute must for the future—something Gen Z-ers expect from day-to-day living as they grow up accustomed to cutting edge technology and a more frictionless society.
More Blended Learning Opportunities
According to this most recent data, 15.4 percent of university students were exclusively enrolled in online courses, while an additional 17.6 percent participated in a mix of both online and in-classroom courses.
Though still a minority of all university students, these numbers are consistently trending upward, indicating that the demand is there. As more colleges start to make coursework available online with video streaming, webinars and other tools, it creates opportunities for students who might otherwise be unable to attend campus.
Technology Serving Administrators (Bots and Other Tools)
While we primarily associate chatbots with marketing programs and e-commerce sites, bots are also beginning to play a role in education. In fact, bots have been involved in education for years.
The most well-known educational bot is “Jill Watson,” which was created by Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel to help handle the 10,000-plus questions he and his teaching assistants received each semester. Introduced in 2016, the artificial intelligence tool was designed to handle more routine questions posed by students, leaving more complex issues to the professor and his human assistants.
It is clear that students are ready and willing to have a bot that can assist with questions in the classroom, but some companies are taking things even farther by helping guide students through the college admissions process.
These tools are often able to reduce the need for a human advisor, improving affordability for the student while also saving time for all parties. However, this doesn’t mean that the human element is eliminated altogether. The purpose of assistive technologies is to provide a more accessible and on-demand experience for students that need immediate assistance with certain issues. Designed for university staff, these technologies aid administrators in providing information on students and are set up to contact or transfer conversations to a living, breathing person for more complex or urgent concerns.
While cost and time savings are certainly a valuable benefit of such tools, the biggest benefit of edtech and admin bots is that they will allow teachers, administrators and counselors to devote more time and attention to the issues that need it most.
Greater Preparation for Tech-Infused Jobs
As much as edtech can streamline experiences in the classroom and off campus, it won’t truly fulfill its purpose if it doesn’t leave students better prepared for the tech-enabled world they are about to enter.
However, movements like Computer Science Education Week are helping to change these attitudes by emphasizing the importance of teaching computer science in both primary and secondary education environments.
While many universities are lagging behind, more and more are recognizing the value that computer sciences and edtech have for their students’ future career development.