The use of educational software is at an all-time high and now that it is much more interactive, it is changing the scope of education as we know it. The development of personal computers was not the “big deal” in changing education. It is the development of educational software that really makes the difference. Even still, in the beginning, much of the software made little difference either.
Computers in Schools
In 1984, the first Macintosh computer was released to the public. With a hefty price tag for the times and a big promise, that little computer did manage to change the world. However, it did not so much change American education in any particular direction toward improvement. Test scores remained pretty much the same for students according to a study.
This showed that it is not just a matter of having a fancy tool, the tool must have some skills of its own. Software was in a child-like state at that time compared to now. Any software that was used in schools did help to teach the kids, but it was not demonstrating improved test scores. It thus fell by the wayside.
Now the educational software, also called “edtech”, has become advanced and, due to the contributions of many, it has pervaded the educational system in many areas, showing up not only in schools but is also widely available online. One of the most incredible platforms is Khan Academy for example.
Khan Academy utilizes educational technology to teach students all around the world. In and of itself, it is not just software. It takes the instructional contributions of many teachers, and many of those work with students as tutors online. In fact, there are even schools like Khan Lab School arising and they operate with the same framework.
The Edtech revolution is upon this world now and it is a good thing. This kind of structure offers much more to students than ever before possible. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, for example. The aim is to move edtech into the educational system across the board. With highly interactive software, there are incredible new possibilities.
Studies are showing quite clearly that the interactive software teaches students better than basic programs which simply ask questions for input answers. The software has to be smart and that is what the Zuckerberg Initiative is creating. The whole edtech industry is predicted to be valued at $120 billion by 2019, just around the corner.
The Research Drive
There are two major types of research that are driving the future of effective edtech. First, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be useful for interaction with students. This makes for highly effective learning. Along with the psychological research being done on this type of education, great strategies are available and more are in development.
American schools are about to change and it is all a result of what has been learned. That irony is not lost on most of the world. It is time to reap the educational benefits of education itself.