A Recap of 2018: What has been happening in EdTech?

2018 is over! A lot has been happening in EdTech. New educational technologies have been on the rise and achieving great results. We bring to you a summary of the state of EdTech in 2018 from the most significant published journal articles.

1- Let’s play a chemistry game!

A study that was published last March focused on learning science through an interactive computer game. This game, called Say My Name, offers a fun and interactive way for high school and undergraduate students to review nomenclature of organic compounds, which is a system of naming compounds.

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Providing more than 600 questions in various difficulties, the game allows students to practice without getting bored. Results and feedback came back significantly positive. While students were much more motivated to practice using the game, teachers and evaluators notices a significant increase in their results.

This study is important because it shows how effective educational games can be when designed with preciseness. Despite being simple and extremely focused, Say My Name has achieved exactly what educational games should do: increasing motivation and performance.

2- Are you tweeting in class?

While most research nowadays is focusing on the disadvantages of social media, this study is occupied with how to utilize social media in education. It explores how Twitter can be used in large-sized lectures to answer in-lecture quizzes and ask questions.

Results show that using Twitter motivates students to participate in class. They also show that Twitter provided the needed communication between lecturers and students in large-sized lectures where the lecturer can’t address each and every student. Moreover, students who did not attend the lecture were able to follow up and engage.

This is a great example of how to use the technology we already have in a beneficial way.

3- Let’s have fun but in other languages!

Educational games can also be utilized in learning languages. This study explores how students can learning English as a second language using an interactive game. The game consisted of different scenarios (traveling, finding a job, renting a house), where each scenario contained multiple tasks that students should perform. Those tasks required the students to use English language to interact with the scenarios and win the game.

The study found great feedback from both students and teachers. The realistic setting of the game motivated the students to work and made them feel more confident when speaking English in real life.

Along with improving their attitudes towards learning, educational games provide students with real opportunities to practice their skills and knowledge.

4- Let’s make sure everyone’s happy

EdTech is not only concerned with the process of learning and teaching, it is also playing a large role in assessments. A study that was published last August explored students’ perspectives on online exams.

Results showed that students had multiple concerns regarding shifting towards online assessments. For example, they were worried about the technology being less reliable than paper, and that they will not be able to use it. They also thoughts their exams will include only one type of questions (here, multiple choice questions). Moreover, they were concerned that the tests and test results will be less individualized.

These results were of great importance because the they showed where the challenges are in applying online exams, giving the opportunity to specialists and educators to find a way around them. They also showed that students are against online exams essentially because they don’t know enough about them.

We can benefit from the outcomes of this study in all EdTech. They show how important it is to understand students’ perspectives and how the focus should be on the students instead of the technology itself. Thus, they show that the priority should be given to informing the students and giving them enough time to warm up to new technologies that are being adopted.

5- Are you following the rules?

Research has also been covering areas concerning ethics and integrity of using technology in education. One paper explored the level of academic dishonesty among undergraduate students when taking an online course. This study focuses on several factors (students’ motivation, personality traits, cultural backgrounds, etc.) that can work as predictors of academic dishonesty within traditional and online courses.

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Results show that students in online courses are less likely to engage in academic dishonesty than those in traditional ones. These results can be interpreted in several ways. For example, online courses are not obligatory, so students who take online courses are doing so by their choice. Therefore, those students are usually more motivated and achievement oriented. Another explanation is that it is harder to cheat on online platforms as they are usually designed to prevent cheating.

Either ways, those explorations into the ethical dimensions of using technology are as important as the technologies themselves. Ultimately, humanity needs ethics and integrity to survive and develop. Therefore, we need to look into the ways we behave.

6- Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?

The last study we look at here is a comparison between three modes of learning: traditional, video, and virtual reality (VR) . First year university students were randomly assigned to one of the learning methods, and their performance was observed.

Results were significantly in favor of VR learning. Students in the VR condition performed better than the ones learning by videos. They also portrayed improvement in their emotions towards their studies, unlike the other modes of learning.

After looking at various studies about different educational technologies, it is safe to say that the results are mostly positive. When used in the right way, technology can improve our lives. We believe that education is a great field for technology to impact, and the following years will prove us right. Check our blog regularly to follow the best practices and the latest technological advancements in education. You can also check out Skolera LMS to learn more about how it can help your educational institution.  

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