Advancing technology is making new educational tools available to teachers, parents and students. Global spending on educational technology is growing 17 percent a year and will increase to $252 billion by 2020, according to a recent report by EdTechXGlobal. One of the most popular new technologies is learning management systems (LMS), which use online software to help teachers deliver lessons, administer tests and track student progress. Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Apple have been developing LMS tools and other educational technology for this growing market.
While much of this technology is designed for educational institutions, there is also a great deal available that can assist parents with improving their children’s educational experience. Here are four types of educational tools you can use to help your kids learn.
One of the most useful categories of education technology for parents is mobile learning (m-learning) technology, which employs mobile devices for distance learning. The m-learning market includes mobile teaching material such as video courses, slideshows, e-books and educational games and apps. It also includes tools to help educators and parents create such mobile content. It further includes tools to facilitate communication between teachers, parents and students.
One of the easiest ways to start using m-learning tools is to download educational apps. For example, Parents.com provides an overview to 10 different apps parents can use to teach their kids about science. The Sea Life app for the iPhone introduces children ages 2 to 5 to 12different underwater animals through images they can touch to hear how the animal sounds (with the option for parents to upload their own photos for customized learning). The Kid Weather app, available on the App Store and Google Play, was designed by a 6-year-old and his meteorologist dad to teach kids about weather. For older children using iOS and Android, the iTooch Elementary School app offers 18,000 learning exercises for grades 1 through 5 in language, math and science.
AI Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Smart Content
In order to use m-learning effectively, you need a suitable mobile device. Today’s cutting-edge mobile devices are designed to support on-device artificial intelligence (AI), vastly enhancing your device’s educational potential. For example, you can use AI intelligent tutoring systems to monitor your child’s learning progress and make customized adjustments to their individual learning style and needs. Other AI tools generate “smart content” that presents key material from textbooks in digestible forms such as digital flashcards.
AI normally consumes so much processing power and bandwidth that it requires a powerful computer or cloud resources, but the latest devices such as smartphones that incorporate the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence platform, are powerful enough to handle AI operations right on your device. This enables you to incorporate the power of artificial intelligence into your mobile educational experience and take advantage of the growing number of AI tools.
Another educational technology available to parents is massive open online education courses (MOOCs), which allow students to learn over the internet. Most MOOCs are free, though some charge a premium fee. Courses may be delivered on a set schedule or self-paced.
Most MOOCs are designed for college students, but a growing range of content is now available for younger students. For example, EdX, a major MOOC provider supported by universities such as MIT, Harvard and Berkeley, now offers online high school courses geared toward high school students. Content includes AP and CLEP test preparation courses for a full range of subjects.
Another powerful recent educational technology is smartpens. These are pens with a built-in computer and video recorder, enabling students to record sounds. When paired with special digitized paper, smartpens can also be used to sync written notes with audio, so that for instance a student can later tap on what they wrote in order to hear what their teacher was saying while they were writing. Smartpens can also be used to transfer notes to computers or the internet for review, audiovisual enhancement or sharing.
M-learning, AI smart learning, MOOCs and smartpens are some of today’s best educational technology for parents. Integrating these into your children’s education will help enrich their learning experience, improve their grades and prepare them for success.