It’s an exciting time we live in (technologically speaking): accessibility to unlimited information, the ability to communicate with someone across the world with ease, access to global positioning systems (GPS) that were only accessible to military less than 20 years ago.
Cray-1 Supercomputer (1975)
And all of this in a device that fits in your hand, which has 1,000 times more computing power than history’s “most successful supercomputer”, Cray-1, built just 42 years ago!
With the world rapidly advancing towards its next technological breakthrough, it’s important to keep in mind, as adult educators, how we can utilize technology to benefit both the learner and the teacher. The trends that my learning partner and I discussed were the use of 3D technology in the classroom, and the use of mobile applications (Apps) in adult learning.
3D technology is quickly becoming very easily accessible to the public, and the immersive experience that it provides can prove to be very valuable to learners, as discussed in the previous blog. I can certainly see myself utilizing such technology in my teaching.
As a teacher to adult learners, I have also found a few Apps that I will use in my teaching. One of the Apps that stood out to me as being of high value for students is Evernote, a tool to help keep students’ ideas and studies organized. As a teacher, I will use Apps such as Explain Everything, which is useful for developing instructional videos and other course content, and Teacher Aide, for tracking assignments, rubrics, goals and successes of students.
Even outside of the classroom, Apps have changed the way that adults can learn. Just typing “learn” into Google Play brings up a myriad of options, from learning a new language (such as Duolingo), to learning how to develop computer code (SoloLearn: Learn to Code).
While the concept of using technology, such as 3D learning and Apps, is useful in promoting adult education, it’s important to keep in mind some of the limitations and challenges around this.
With respect to using Apps, not all adult learners are at the same comfort level with technology to use Apps to their full capability (though technologically savvy adults are becoming increasing common). Additionally, some Apps may cost money that students are not willing to spend, not all Apps are available on all platforms (i.e. Apple Store and Google Play do not offer all of the same Apps), and some students may not have smart phones.
With respect to 3D technology, one challenge is keeping all of the teachers trained on the use of this technology as it becomes more integrated into lesson planning. Another challenge is the financial commitment required as this evolving technology improves, and ensuring that you don’t “buy in” to a system that doesn’t take off (such as Google Glass, which, after less than a year stopped being produced). As my learning partner pointed out, there is also the question of how taking the “pseudo practical experience” gained from a 3D learning experience applies to the same practical activity in the real world. Oh, plus there is the possibility of motion sickness! Yikes!