How technology is breaking the mould of passive learning

by James Reid15 Nov 2017
Today, words like ‘automation’, ‘Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘STEM’ are about as commonplace in classrooms as ‘literacy’, ‘numeracy’ and ‘science’.

While this shift may seem like unchartered territory to some, many schools have managed to keep up with the pace of technological change by blending digital technologies into their curriculums.

As is the case with any major shift, there has been resistance, and a chorus of sceptics have questioned the impact that technology is having in classrooms.

However, at the same time, reports have shown that depending on how technology coalesces with pedagogy, the union between emerging technologies and K-12 education could very well be a match made in heaven.

Below, Troy Martin, VP APAC at Instructure, tells The Educator about the important, and positive role, that technology continues to play as this new era dawns.

TE: In what ways is ed-tech expanding equity in K-12 education?

TM:
We believe no one should have a monopoly on good education, which is why we built Canvas to be an open platform. Open ed-tech means that teachers can incorporate the tools and resources they want into the education ecosystem, and not just the tools and resources that their current technology allows. This gives every student and teacher the same access to resources regardless of where they live – in rural or urban environments, or in developed or developing nations.

It also provides equity across devices used in education. With BYOD prevalent in the Australian education system, it’s important that the same user experience is provided regardless of learning platform or device. Technology like Canvas allows seamless cross-platform functionality, offering equal opportunities to all students.

TE: How important is technology in modern-day education and what are the benefits?

TM:
Students are being exposed to technology from an early age, often even before they can read, which means by the time they reach school they’re accustomed to using internet-enabled devices and software. If modern-day education doesn’t reflect this digitally savvy society, students will not relate to their education experience and become disengaged.

There are many benefits of deploying tech to enhance the teaching and learning, it’s a great way to cater for different learning styles and paces. Technology can break the mould of passive and rote learning, instead enabling a more collaborative environment where the teacher becomes a ‘coach’; encouraging students to become more responsible and take control of their learning journey.

TE: How is Australia well placed to become a global leader in ed-tech?

TM:
Australia has a great pedigree of start-up technologies, from Cochlear to Atlassian. Edugrowth – Australia’s first ed-tech accelerator – bodes well for the future growth of tech start-ups and the education sector. Coupled with producing start-ups and driving innovation here in Australia, we also have a track record of being early adopters of technology.

Our willingness to apply new technologies across many industries sets a great example for the education market to follow, and we’re seeing near-universal recognition of the need to deploy technology by education institutions to enhance teaching and learning.


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