Summary of Current and Future Impact of Technology in Science Education
Technology in education is not a new concept. From lantern slides of the early 1900s to the 1:1 digital device classrooms of today, educational technologies have been assisting teachers and students in the learning process. Current technologies focus on collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking—arguably the most important of the 21st century skills for students—across all content areas. Emerging technologies focus on artificial intelligence and mixed reality immersive educational experiences, while current social media platforms are being used in a variety of creative ways in all manner of subjects.
Current Social Media Technologies
Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms and can be an invaluable tool in connecting, collaborating and communicating in the classroom, as well as part of a well-rounded professional learning network. In addition to using it for professional development, teachers can tweet assignments or important links, post questions and receive immediate feedback from students and parents, tweet class schedule changes, etc. Students can connect what they are learning to the world by following industry leaders, ask questions, and learn responsible social media use.
- Collaboration. Twitter allows students to collaborate on a variety of assignments and projects. Teachers can monitor that collaboration, interceding with advice or direction when/if getting off track (Norman, 2016).
- Communication. Twitter allows “backchannel communication” which gives shy or introverted students an opportunity to participate in class discussions that they might otherwise not ordinarily have (TeachThoughtStaff, 2020).
- Connection. Twitter can connect science students “to reputable, relevant scientific people and organizations in real time” (Becker & Bishop, n.d.).
- Time. Setup time for student twitter accounts that the teacher also has access to for monitoring is time intensive and technically challenging (Becker & Bishop, n.d.)
- Appropriate use. Managing student exposure or access to objectionable material or content (Becker & Bishop, n.d.).
Becker, R., Bishop, P. (n.d.). “Think bigger about science”: Using Twitter for learning in the middle grades. Association for Middle Level Education. Retrieved from https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/650/Think-bigger-about-science-Using-Twitter-for-learning-in-the-middle-grades.aspx
Norman, S. (2016). 15 ways to use Twitter in education (for students and teachers alike). eLearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/15-ways-twitter-in-education-students-teachers
TeachThought Staff (2020). 20 ways highschools are using Twitter in the classroom. Teachthought. Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/technology/20-ways-high-schools-are-using-twitter-in-the-classroom/
YouTube. The video sharing platform YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of popularity for social media use. YouTube EDU is a derivative of YouTube that has curated hundreds of thousands of educational videos and has become an invaluable resource in the modern classroom. Teachers can use videos to introduce new topics or generate excitement, explore different places around the globe, or even to differentiate material for various learners (Burns, 2016).
- Limited Access for Non-Educational Content. Youtube EDU has a network setting that allows schools to permit student access to educational videos while screening non-educational content (Nast, n.d.).
- Educators can create a YouTube channel where they can assemble entire playlists of classroom materials (Nast, n.d.).
- YouTube is free, accessible from anywhere, and can be rewatched as necessary (Gaille, 2017).
- Requires discernment and supervision. Some YouTube content is not suitable for certain ages groups and some is not suitable for any age group. Even the comments section can be entirely inappropriate (GoGuardain Team, 2015).
- Requires internet connection. Consideration must be given to access for all students when using a YouTube video as a primary or supplementary resource.
Burns, M. (201, May 3). Harnessing the power of YouTube in the classroom. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/harnessing-power-youtube-in-classroom-monica-burns
GoGuardian Team (2015, January 29). 5 problems with YouTube in the classroom. GoGuardian. Retrieved from https://www.goguardian.com/blog/learning/5-problems-with-youtube-in-the-classroom/
Nast, P. (n.d.). YouTube for educators. NEA. Retrieved June 26, 2020 from http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/50803.htm
Edmodo is a free, Facebook-style learning management system that allows teachers to create closed, safe spaces for classes to communicate and learn about social media etiquette. Teachers can also use Edmodo to give quizzes and assignments, manage classes, and communicate with students and parents (Cunningham, 2013).
- User Friendly. The Edmodo interface is easy to set up and use. Teachers also have access to community and tech support (Rogowski, 2020).
- Gateway platform. Edmodo is a safe, monitored space for younger students to learn about communicating via social media and responsible digital citizenship.
- Ads. Edmodo is a free resource for teachers which means, like other free social media platforms, it has advertisements.
- Basic. Edmodo is the most basic of the social media style learning management systems. It is lacking key elements (i.e. rubric generator or collaboration features; Rogowski, 2020).
Rogowski, M. (2020, April). Edmodo. Common Sense Education. Retrieved June 26, 2020 from https://www.commonsense.org/education/website/edmodo
Emerging Education Technologies
Cognii Virtual Learning Assistant
Artificial intelligence (AI) is perhaps one of the most exciting technologies making its mark on the ed tech industry. One AI technology that has the potential to shape the future of a more personalized education is the Cognii Virtual Learning Assistant (VLA). Much like other chatbot software, the Cognii VLA is interactive, automated, and adaptive. However, it is the only one designed specifically for education and virtual tutoring (Weir, 2016). With Cognii VLA, students have a customized tutor providing feedback in real time.
- Adaptive and personalized. Cognii VLA is an adaptive technology that immediately assesses student learning and understanding and adapts to move each student towards content mastery.
- Develops higher order thinking skills. 21st century learners need to be critical thinkers, and this conversational ed tech utilizes short answers and essays in lieu of traditional assessment methods in order to better evaluate deep understanding (Cognii.com, 2020).
- Integration. Cognii VLA can easily be integrating into existing learning management software (Cognii.com, 2020).
- Ethical considerations. Any type of AI requires personal data collection. How this data is used, shared and stored is a key element of implementation plan (Snow, 2019).
- Equitable access. The digital divide is real and AI in the classroom has the potential to further the disparity between rich and poor schools.
Weir, E. (2016, May 24). Artifical intelligence meets ed tech: A conversation with Cognii founder, Dee Kanejiya. LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/artificial-intelligence-meets-edtech-conversation-cognii-weir/
Cognii Virtual Learning Assistant (2020). Cognii. Retrieved from https://www.cognii.com/technology
Snow, J. (2019, January 25). AI technology is disrupting the traditional classroom. Here’s the support. NOVA. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/ai-technology-is-disrupting-the-traditional-classroom/
EON Reality – Augmented & Virtual Reality (AVR) Platform
Augmented and virtual reality technologies, or a combination thereof—often referred to as mixed reality—are changing traditional classrooms into fully immersive, hands on learning environments. EON Reality has an AVR platform that can be used across all manner of disciplines, including education. As educational outcomes shift focus to higher order thinking skills, AVR rises to meet that need by providing learning experiences that allow students to apply, analyze, and evaluate their knowledge.
- Learning by doing. EON Reality provides students with an AVR platform to engage hands on in a place or activity without ever leaving the classroom.
- Ease of use. Educators can use the EON Reality AVR platform to easily create or download interactive lessons without coding or specialized technology skills (eonreality.com, 2020).
- Compatible. EON Reality is compatible with multiple AR/VR headset and glove technologies.
- Human Interaction. Any type of augmented or virtual reality technology is an interface between the student and the software. This technology should be used sparingly, as human interactions with other students and the teacher are an essential element of the educative process (Childers, 2019).
- Cost. AR/VR hardware and software is expensive.
Augmented & Virtual Reality Education (2020). Eon Reality. Retrieved from https://eonreality.com/use-cases/augmented-virtual-reality-education/
Childers, J. (2019, October 16). Pros and cons of VR, AR as teaching tools. Edgy. Retrieved from https://edgy.app/pros-and-cons-of-vr-ar-as-teaching-tools