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How DX is driving real change in key industries – Education

YSoft be3D
Petr Šťastný
Senior Product Manager
This article takes a closer look at the education industry and how Digital Transformation has already made its mark and what the future may hold.
Each of the industries we are examining are driven by the need to become as agile and efficient as possible to become better service providers and stay relevant in a highly competitive market.

Education is changing

Education is life-changing, but the way it has been delivered over many generations has mainly remained the same. However, the traditional use of lecture-based learning and examination is evolving as Digital Transformation grows as schools, colleges and universities are witnessing big changes. In the past, technology in education was seen by many as a necessary evil, running in the background and struggling to receive funding. This perception is starting to turn on its head, with technology having more of an impact and being central to what, how, when and even why education is delivered.

The case for change

Educational bodies are adapting to the changing needs of students, looking at how emerging technologies will impact their students’ future and how it can prepare them. Everyone has an optimum method, style and environment for learning, one size does not fit all.
 
The demand for education is endless, with the need to fit into a global workforce, plugging a skills gap as well as personal development. Advances in technology and its increased affordability have opened up a whole new world of opportunity in the sector but also a wealth of information that can be overwhelming for educators. Organizations such as The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) have been set up with the mission of transforming teaching and learning, to speed-up innovation. But what are the key technological drivers in education today?

Investing in education – what are the changes?

Digital Transformation can be seen in how, where, what and when students are taught. This disruption is also partly cultivated by personal device ownership, with students likely to have access to a number of different devices and platforms. This takes away some of the financial drain on an educational body to supply devices. From gamification, mobile learning apps, virtual classrooms, and learning collaboratively, the education system is transforming. Below we look at some of the ways in which Digital Transformation is already having an impact within the education sector.
 
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” Kolb, 1984
 
  • Automated digital processes – Educational bodies can now easily automate many of their internal processes and activities as well as improve communications. Schools are starting to use workflow automation for administrative tasks such as admissions processes, permission forms, scheduling, registration, reports and scanning. With widespread access to information and processes made more efficient, more time may be spent focusing on education delivery.
  • Student owned technology – Students have grown up with technology and are considered to be digital natives. With smartphones everywhere, students can use their devices to support their learning. By using students own technology, the educational body is reducing what they need to supply, maintain and secure.
  • Online learning – Opening up a whole new world of opportunities, technology has enabled students to study when they want and from almost any location. This technology has also opened up education to third-party service providers such as Open University, FutureLearn and MOOCs (Massive open online courses). The use of MOOCs is growing, with 20 million new learners signing up in 2018 and over 900 universities now offering courses.

 

  • Learning apps – The use of apps in schools helps students to engage and harnesses the power of tablets and smartphones which are already in the classroom. There are apps for subjects such as creative writing, graphic design and math. The delivery of education through an app lets the student work at their own pace while giving the  teacher visibility of their progress, allowing for blended and personalized learning. In 2018, education was the third most popular app category in the Apple App Store.
  • Transformed classrooms – Creating digital campuses has, in some instances, unleashed flexibility and agility in classrooms. With cameras, screens and other digital tools readily available, teachers may quickly project content, film presentations, use interactive white boards or display group work to create a multi-purpose interactive space to enhance the learning experience.
  • Gamification – As a powerful vehicle for human learning, the use of games to both teach and test has become more widely established within education. Leading examples of gamification enhancing education include Classcraft, Nintendo Labo, Rezzly, and Class Dojo. Providing immediate feedback, these games allow students to learn through their actions as well as to develop problem solving skills while increasing motivation and engagement. The education gamification market is expected to grow to around 1.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
  • Classroom flipping - The development and availability of EdTech has led to an increase in the use of flipped classrooms. Using apps, the Cloud, videos and other digital content, students are provided with learning material to review at home, while time in the classroom is spent problem-solving, reviewing complications and enabling students to work with their peers. Turning the traditional model on its head, this reversed use of the learning environment supports blended learning and allows students to be active learners. According to the Flipped Learning Network, 71% of teachers  showed a grade improvement, and 80% reported improved student attitudes as a result of classroom flipping.
  • 3D printing – The increase in accessibility of 3D printers has led to the use of them in educational environments. Students who use 3D printing have an enhanced learning experience with increased engagement and motivation. The machines may be used to create tangible learning aids as well as understanding the technology itself. From being used in engineering and graphic design through to art and history, the educational possibilities are endless.
  • Augmented, virtual and mixed reality EdTech is bringing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality into the classroom to enhance the learning experience. This immersive technology may be used for virtual field trips, such as learning about Ancient Greece or the Great Barrier Reef and bringing subjects to life. Current apps include Anatomy 4D, AugThat, MathAlive, and ZooKazam.
  • AIEducational institutions are making use of chatbots to answer student questions and helping with research and homework, freeing up teacher time. For example, IBM’s Watson has been used to create a virtual student advisory service to support learning and help students to achieve their targets. According to a report by Global Market Insights, artificial intelligence in the education sector is expected to be worth $6bn by 2024.
  • Learning to be digital citizens – With the availability of technology, connectivity and data, students need to be taught how to be good digital citizens. From understanding how to act online, distinguish fake and genuine information, staying secure and how to navigate the digital world.

Teaching the future

While we are already witnessing the impact of Digital Transformation in the education sector, there will inevitably be more to come and many of the above changes will grow in capacity and depth. With a focus on nurturing and developing skills such as agility, problem solving and creativity, the future of EdTech is mostly positive. The changing needs of community centric life-long learning models will lead to further integration of digital technology into education. Some of this technology includes SmartBoards and SmartDesks changing the physical use of campuses, and the increased use of AR, VR and the Internet of Things (IoT), increasing connectivity, immersion and collaboration.
 
  • Smart Campuses - Utilizing IoT technology schools can unite all devices onto a single network, allowing a customizable and secure learning environment. One example of this would be having automatic settings for each teacher, such as lighting, display, and device usage. With increased connectivity and charging points, the physical learning environment of a classroom is likely to change. The learning space will mimic the workplace and become spaces where students can collaborate and understand how to use technology to achieve their goals.
  • VR content creators – Tools such as Google Tour Creator may well see students creating and publishing their own VR content.
 

Conclusion

Despite often being regarded as an antiquated sector, Digital Transformation is taking the world of education by storm. Education is adopting technology to achieve operational excellence, complementing the work carried out by their teachers. The expectations and requirement of students are rapidly evolving, and the sector must respond. Education will never be the same again.

Part 1 - How Digital Transformation (DX) is driving change in key verticals
Part 2 - How DX is driving real change in key industries – Legal
Part 3 - How Digital Transformation (DX) is driving change - Education
Part 4 - How Digital Transformation (DX) is driving change - Finance
Part 5 - How Digital Transformation (DX) is driving change - Manufacturing 

What other changes have you seen because of Digital Transformation? What do you think will change in the future for the education sector? Please share your thoughts with us by using the below comments section.
 

 

Petr Šťastný
Petr Šťastný
Petr takes care of Y Soft 3D print solutions. He likes technologies, challenges and loves to live life and have fun.
View all posts by Petr Šťastný

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