Technology is playing a big role, particularly in K-12 education, which is commonly moving away from a teacher-centric to a student-centric approach. Knowledge is often no longer being transferred via lectures, and bulky textbooks are being replaced by digital tools: flex-books, computers, and hand-held devices.[i] Learning has typically moved beyond the classroom as well, with 24/7 learning support. With research showing that digital education (Dig Ed) outside class can improve student’s performance, especially with increased engagement, diverse learning styles and positive academic outcomes, this seems to be a move in the right direction.[ii] We explore this trend in our recent publication “After the bell rings – digital education outside the classroom”, and show how technology has opened up new avenues for learning outside the classroom.
With the interest of government in supporting the use of technology in schools,[iii] various players in this field should understand the potential opportunities that arise from adopting Dig Ed. In the recent past, there has been an increasing demand by the government and schools for connected learning,[iv] which aims to link teachers and students to digital content and help students to improve personalized learning; we presented that concept and its practical benefits in our publication Digital education 2.0: From content to connections. The US K-12 schools and districts’ spending on digital curriculum reached $9 billion in 2016, a 25 percent annual increase.[v]
Federal, state and local governments can better enable supporting policies, with the help of technology. It can also allow the government to work closely with ed-tech providers to design and develop curriculum that can increase the widespread adoption of digital education beyond the school environment. There is also opportunity for the government to create open platforms for schools, mirroring universities/colleges to develop models of digital learning and offer online and distance learning. This can help accelerate the adoption of online learning opportunities; for example, the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) – first statewide internet-based school in the US for K-12 education, is dedicated for personalized online learning. However, despite the prevalence of such technologies, there is a huge gap between Dig Ed’s potential and its frequency of use outside the classroom[vi] (refer Figure 1). While many classrooms are using technology, Deloitte’s 2016 Digital education study, revealed that there are several challenges for the adoption of Digi Ed. Some of the key barriers include – additional training needs for teachers, connecting the in-classroom learning with learning outside the classroom, and keeping students engaged.
While technology can provide opportunities, it cannot by itself improve learning. For this, the government (federal, state and local), should consider implementing three main strategies:
- Preparing teachers: Teachers trained on various digital education tools can influence decisions related to digital education solutions. Creating low-cost faculty development programs is likely essential.
- Influencing parents: Parents typically decide on the spending on digital education products. Solution providers can get their buy-in by showing them the benefits of digital education—how digital technologies makes learning interesting, how students can learning at their own pace, and so on.
- Engaging students: It is also necessary to keep students occupied and motivated. One way is to design content that can gamify the learning process and offer students a chance to win rewards for participation.
Curious to know how technology can provide learning opportunities outside the classroom? Want to know more about what opportunities lie in connecting the contents/concepts with the external world? Our recently published article “After the bell rings – digital education outside the classroom” has some answers.
Preeta Banerjee leads cross-sector research and thought leadership development for Deloitte’s US Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT) practice. She has published over 40 academic journal articles, book chapters, and invited publications. Preeta has received her Ph.D. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and B.S. in Computational Biology and Business Administration from the Mellon College of Science and the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. You can connect with her @d_pbanerjee or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deepan Kumar Pathy is a senior analyst with Deloitte Services India Pvt. Ltd. In his current role, he is involved in conducting in-depth research and analysis focused on the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) TMT industry. Deepan’s areas of specialization include tracking and exploring emerging technology trends in the TMT industry. You can connect with him @deepanamc or by email email@example.com
[i] From textbooks to flexbooks, GOV2020, http://government-2020.dupress.com/trend/textbooks-flexbooks/
[ii] Cynthia Nalevanko, “Technology Extends Learning and Engagement Outside of the Classroom,” Sage Connection, November 25, 2015, http://connection. sagepub.com/blog/sage-connection/2015/11/25/technology-extends-learning-and-engagement-outside-of-the-classroom/
[iii] “Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning”, U.S. Department of education, https://www.ed.gov/oii-news/use-technology-teaching-and-learning
[iv] Benjamin Herold, “Technology in Education: An Overview”, Ed Week, February 05, 2016, http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/technology-in-education/index.html
[v] Digital Curriculum Strategy Survey and Assessment tool, http://thelearningcounsel.com/2016-survey
[vi] 2016 Digital Education Survey, Deloitte, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/digital-education-survey.html