Challenges and Possibilities for the Future of Educational Technology

Table of contents for The Future of Educational Technology:

  • Challenges and Possibilities for the Future of Educational Technology
  • Current Landscape in Educational Technology
  • Integration of Tools
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Safeguards
  • Conclusion and considerations
  • References              

As an avid observer of educational technology, I am acutely aware of the future of educational technology’s profound influence, shaped by the contingency imposed by the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 and the resurgent wave of Artificial Intelligence. While the future of educational technologies remains uncertain, ongoing studies offer glimpses into the vast potential for new developments and technological growth. In this article, my primary objective is to explore the prevailing trends and the far-reaching impact of educational technologies on the diverse groups involved, acknowledging the ever-changing nature of our current situation. I aim to shed light on these technologies’ effects on educators and students, striving to unravel the intricacies and challenges they present, for it is only through understanding these effects that we can effectively address and adapt to the evolving educational landscape.

Current Landscape in Educational Technology                            

In educational technology, we find ourselves in a logical evolution stage driven by technological advancements but also in an adaptive state due to the development of the contingency caused by the pandemic and the decisions made by various stakeholders. As an educator, I am keenly aware of the need to strike a balance in determining how we preserve the changes and technologies that have been instrumental in addressing the current challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically transformed how we approach many aspects of our daily lives, including education. It has compelled us to reevaluate our traditional practices. As an educator, I am responsible for exploring technological innovations that can provide social and emotional support while remaining flexible to cater to the diverse needs of all students (Pelletier et al., 2021). Before the pandemic, remote connection and online learning were utilized to some extent; however, the pandemic has thrust our society into a reality where remote connectivity is now integral to work and study at an unprecedented level. The future implications of this shift remain uncertain. However, considering the increased reliance on remote modes of higher education that we witnessed during the pandemic, it is expected that some form of remote learning will continue to persist in the post-pandemic future (Pelletier et al., 2021). 

Integration of Tools

The incorporation of technologies in education offers numerous benefits. It facilitates access and management of information for teachers’ and students’ training and research. Additionally, using technology in the classroom improves the logical structure of content, ensuring more accessible access to information and knowledge. It also provides tools for universal and inclusive access to knowledge by enabling students to comprehend multimedia and multimodal materials. Furthermore, technology stimulates independent study, reduces dependence on traditional teaching processes, and expands communication channels between teachers and students. It opens up new possibilities for collaborative work and dialogue among students, and it also connects students and teachers beyond the confines of the classroom, fostering connections with communities and enabling lifelong learning.

Furthermore, technologies such as gamification, virtual reality, augmented reality, and coding have the potential to enhance the learning experience and increase motivation (Bavelier, 2012; López-Fernández, 2021; Schrum, 2018; Thora, 2016; Tulloch, 2014). However, it is essential to consider the challenges some students may encounter when using these tools (Soltani & Morice, 2020; Araujo, 2022).

More about Augmented Reality here

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has applications in various educational domains, supporting tasks such as learning systems, supervision, evaluation, and student support (Pelletier et al., 2021). The future of AI in education will involve further exploration of its potential, intelligence capabilities, and the ethical considerations surrounding its use and responsibility in incorporating human-like intelligence into educational settings. 

The development of AI in conjunction with machine learning (ML) has significantly contributed to educational processes. The Horizon Report Teaching and Learning Edition 2022 (https://library.educause.edu/resources/2022/4/2022-educause-horizon-report-teaching-and-learning-edition) highlights the advancements in AI, such as its incorporation into learning management systems (LMS), student engagement, self-regulated learning, and data analysis, among others. This report also sheds light on the emergence of blended and hybrid course models, influenced and necessitated by the pandemic, which strives to present hybrid classroom solutions and provide accessible content for remote access and collaboration between institutions. 

Safeguards

As various technologies are incorporated into the classroom, it is crucial to consider safeguards and ensure that the applications appropriately align with educational objectives. For instance, gamification applications, while engaging, may not always possess the desired educational value or adhere to privacy policies. It becomes necessary to exercise control and improve the development of such applications, especially when they are not created by education specialists (Papadakis et al., 2020; Meyer et al., 2021). Regarding applications used by children, the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) empowers parents and users to take control of their online experiences and protect them (Kids Online Safety Act, 2021-2022). Additionally, digital educational technology tools, commonly known as EdTech, introduce new challenges related to privacy, identity, confidentiality, and data security (PICSDM) that require attention and careful consideration from all stakeholders involved in education.

Conclusion

In conclusion, educational technology has undergone significant changes in response to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational institutions and decision-makers have been compelled to adapt existing technologies to meet the demands of the educational system. Simultaneously, recent technological advancements have introduced new tools and possibilities into education. However, it remains to be seen whether the current trends will persist once the effects of the pandemic subside.

Considerations

Considering the projected trends outlined in this discourse, it is clear that the future of technology integration in education holds immense potential and promises unparalleled possibilities. As we continue to embrace these tools, it is imperative that we also strive to deepen our understanding of them. We must approach this transformative journey with wisdom, prudence, and intelligence, prioritizing the well-being and development of the new generations navigating these technologies. By doing so, we can safeguard their futures and ensure a purposeful and meaningful integration of these technologies into the educational landscape. 

References:

Araújo, I., & Carvalho, A. A. (2022, Jun). Enablers and Difficulties in Implementing Gamification: A Case Study with Teachers. Education Sciences, 12(3), 191. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.3390/educsci12030191

Bavelier, D., (2016). Your brain on video games, TED [Video]. https://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_brain_on_video_games

López-Fernández, D., Gordillo, A., Alarcón, P. P., and Tovar, E. (2021). Comparing traditional teaching and game-based learning using teacher-authored games on computer science education, in IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 367-373, Nov. 2021, DOI: 10.1109/TE.2021.3057849.

Meyer, M., Zosh, J.M., McLaren, C., Robb, M., McCaffery, H., Michnick R., Hirsh-Pasek K., & Radesky, ., (2021). How educational are “educational” apps for young children? App store content analysis using the Four Pillars of Learning framework, Journal of Children and Media, 15:4, 526-548, DOI: 10.1080/17482798.2021.1882516

Papadakis, S., Vaiopoulou, J., Kalogiannakis, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (2020). Developing and Exploring an Evaluation Tool for Educational Apps (E.T.E.A.) Targeting Kindergarten Children. SUSTAINABILITY12(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104201

Pelletier, K., Brown, M., Brooks, D.C., McCormack, M., Reeves, J., Arbino, N., Bozkurt, A., Crawford, S., Czerniewicz, L., Gibson, R., Linder, K., Mason, J. & Mondelli, V. (2021). 2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report Teaching and Learning Edition. Boulder, CO: EDU. https://www-learntechlib-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/p/219489/.

Schrum, L., & Sumerfield, S. (2018). Learning supercharged (1st ed.). International Society for Technology in Education.

Soltani, P., & Morice, A. H. P. (2020). Augmented reality tools for sports education and training. Computers and Education, 155, 103923. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103923

Thora, K., (2016, Dec 26th). 7 Great educational online games. Getting Smart. https://www.gettingsmart.com/2016/12/26/the-7-great-educational-online-games/

Tulloch, R. (2014). Reconceptualizing gamification: Play and pedagogy. Journal of Digital Culture and Education, 6(4), 317–333.

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