Let’s ponder for a moment what comes to mind when you think of EdTech or eLearning….
What is your vision? Do you see virtual reality headsets or teacher-less classrooms with high-tech gadgets and no human interaction? Perhaps you envision a networked-sea of IPads, floating around a room of Wi-Fi signals, with children wired up, passing each other like e-ships in the i-night, devoid of good ‘ol-fashioned’ chalk and talk classes.
And while you’re in your vision-space, ask yourself this: “Who decided what educational material was presented to the student?” What aspect of the learning management system accounted for the variety of ways we all learn? Are we too tech-focused in our endeavours to change the way we embark upon a transition in the delivery of education in general? Is our technology capable of delivering quality learning experiences?
Technology in education is here to stay; so let’s use our powers for good instead of evil.
Here are 3 Reasons Why we Should Expand the Integration of Education and Technology
1. EdTech is not a product, but a symbiotic relationship where each party empowers, inspires and supports the other.
A state-of-the-art learning management system with no quality educational design is like a canvas without an artist (let’s leave the ‘techies are artists too’ conversation for another time; because it’s true, they are). All the tools and components to create an artwork are there, but without the artist to express and transmit the message in a meaningful way, we just have a fully functioning blank canvas with great specs and a full suite of operational tools.
When Teachers, Learning and Instructional Designers combine forces with the magic and i-artistry of technology, the users of EdTech and eLearning are the true winners.
2. We haven’t really embraced the educational power of learning experience technologies and learning record systems like xAPI, Tin Can API and lxHive.
Image: CC by SSA Rustici Software http://tincanapi.com/
If you’re thinking that xAPI is the new BMW model or that Tin Can API may relate to archaic communication methods, you’re not alone. Not only are there several acronyms for what is essentially the same process and product, often the tech-jargon that attempts to explain it requires a degree in something you’ve never heard of.
So here’s a convoluted attempt to explain the xAPI-type capturing of various learning experiences and the sheer possibility of what these processes and the subsequent releasing (or analysing) of that data can do to the landscape of EdTech and education in general.
Here’s a great video that explains xAPI and related information.
Does it all make sense now?
Simply put – to record is to..
- Set free
That’s what learning experience technologies (xAPI, Tin-Can API) and innovative products such as lxHive can do. They have the capacity to reinvent the way we,
- Open ourselves to the possible processes of engaging in different learning modalities
- Capture the variety of experiences that constitute a learning experience
- Report, process and analyse the data we obtain from a learning experience
- Set the data free! Statistics and data (big or small) are not dirty words. We can harness the power of this valuable information to inform us on how to improve the learner’s experience and alter it to provide the customised learning opportunities our world needs.
Below is a visual example of how learning activities can be captured, recorded and analysed through solutions such as the lxHive suite and other xAPI products.
3. Learning Management Systems, Student Management Systems and Human Resource Systems have previously lacked the capacity to connect and integrate (This is no longer the case!)
Sometimes, in life, we have to deal with frustrating work related duties.
“Computer says no.”
Maybe that relates to pre-set Microsoft Word formatting or the fact that you have to input THE SAME data into different software, and it just seems like a waste of everybody’s time, money and sanity. Duplicate entries into student management systems, learning management systems and human resource systems are frustrating. Instructional Designers, Teachers, L&D professionals work with administrators and HR staff frequently. There is simply no escaping the fact.
Teacher: “How many students are enrolled in my course and what are their details?”
Admin: “Let me manually input the data sourced from paper-based enrollment forms and I’ll get back to you.”
When technology, education, innovation and creativity combine forces, we can solve these problems through ‘middleware’ connectivity solutions. Middleware applications such as SMSConnector, allow automated workflows between the Student Management System and the Learning Management System, making it possible for educational organisations to more efficiently integrate and manage their administrative and learning systems.
Below image is an example of how middleware applications and connectors interact with each other.
Image: SMSConnector, Brightcookie
Now that’s a great marriage of education and technology!
We can change the way the world approaches learning and technology and we can change it for the better. Let’s make sure that the future of eLearning and EdTech is a true combination of the power of these two remarkable fields.
Header image: CC0 licence – Pexel