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7 Ways Tech and Software are Changing Education



Once upon a time, going to school meant learning in a one-room clapboard classroom, where students of varying ages scribbled on chalkboards—and maybe sat in the corner with a pointy white cap on their head if they had misbehaved. Well you might have guessed that a lot has changed about education since the days of Little House on the Prairie...and changes have been even more rapid in today’s area of accelerating tech and software. Here are a few ways that software and tech are changing the classroom:


  • Opportunity and Flexibility

  • Catering to Special Needs

  • Immersion Learning

  • Shifting Educational Modalities

  • More Adaptable Learning

  • Preparing Students for the Future

  • Human Capital and Workflow Management


The field of education is booming, especially with increasing reliance on distance learning. Software sales reps should take note of this opportunity, and some of the ways software and tech are making changes in the field of learning. Let's take a deeper look:


Opportunity and Flexibility


Flexibility in terms of schedule is particularly advantageous to older students already in the workforce, who want or need to pursue a particular degree, but can’t enroll as a full time student. Tools like Zoom have allowed traditional brick and mortar four year institutions and community colleges to offer students the opportunity of remote learning that fits their schedule. And for students who cannot afford accredited programs but need a particular skill, P2P instructional platforms like Udemy and Teachable allow experts to post courses in subjects from computer programming to parenting and everything in between. These peer to peer instructional platforms also allow individuals who possess a particular skill to monetize their knowledge, creating additional financial opportunity.


Catering to Special Needs


Providing for children with special needs in a school setting has been an ongoing work in progress, but technology has really assisted educators in their mission to do so. Students with dyslexia or visual impairment can use Text to Speech technology to understand written texts that would normally prove onerous, and voice recognition software to translate their thoughts into writing. For students with more serious impairments, sip and puff technology allows them to control motorized devices (like wheelchairs) and computers by inhaling and exhaling on tubes. And touchscreen technology has helped students with learning challenges in fields like math engage with customized lessons.


Immersion Learning


Remember the good old days when you had to learn about history through a text book? Sometimes students would be lucky enough to take a field trip to a local battlefield or historical building, but those rare moments were about as interactive as education could get. Well now with virtual reality and augmented reality, students can take a field trip to Ancient Rome or Medieval Europe. And AR and VR aren’t just great for history. Imagine how engaging science class becomes when you can actually send students to the moon (well, sort of) or have them step onto Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. This type of learning will bring the subject matter to life for kids who struggle to get inspired through traditional reading.


Shifting Educational Modalities


Let’s be honest: students can now use Google to teach themselves about anything. Unfortunately, that also means they can challenge and fact check their teachers. In a college classroom, where students are allowed (or encouraged) to have a tablet or laptop, they can even do this in class. Teachers can either fight this or roll with the times and shift from being lecturing information sources to moderators of discussion. At the same time, we have seen that the internet also populates serious amounts of disinformation, so teachers will have the added responsibility of helping students learn how to fact check their own sources and find reliable information. In terms of elementary education, we might see a shift from focusing on rote memorization to more emphasis on creative problems solving using tech tools at student disposal.


More Adaptable Learning


In times past, the teacher would have to cater their lesson to the monolithic “student” of the entire classroom. This usually meant (depending on the teacher) gearing the lesson to the middle of the class, so that students on either end of the bell curve would be woefully lost or woefully bored...resulting in more discipline problems or academic underperformance. But with tech and software solutions, learning can become more adaptable and personalized for each and every student. Testing solutions like Quizlet can be segmented to pinpoint student strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly, while a whole range of learning software can tailor educational modules to different students based on their educational level. This means more efficient learning for students, and most likely a more engaged classroom with less discipline issues (which is great for teachers).


Preparing Students for the Future


Today's students will be entering a world that is vastly different from the one we entered as adults. Moreover, even within the youngest generation, there will be societal shifts occurring because of impactful technology—which is taking off at an accelerated rate never seen before. Ongoing issues like bullying on social media and screen time addiction are showing us adults that we have not yet figured out how to navigate this brave new world. But sooner or later, we will be forced to. Old educational models with students sitting in a desk all day prepared students for a nine-to-five career in the service economy. But with machine learning and automation, that type of job landscape is rapidly transforming. The classroom is the space in which teachers will have to figure out how to prepare kids for the tech and software driven world they are inheriting...without losing sight of things that matter, like human to human interaction.


Human Capital and Workflow Management


Even a public school resembles a business in certain respects (certainly a private school is) and one of the ways that’s so is because of its need for human capital and workflow management. Thankfully there are a whole range of software solutions to help administrators manage teachers and for teachers to assign homework and for teachers to manage their classroom. Tools like Blackboard let teachers post homework assignments and communicate with students who have questions. Cloud based software like Google Classroom can integrate with a number of online gradebooks and lesson planning platforms. Gone are the days of students saying that a dog ate their homework—unless their dog can eat a tablet or wipe a hard drive.


A final word about education and tech


Education in America is big business, and a big slice of that business pie is tech and software. With the advent of remote learning, the prevalence of tech is only increasing. A number of established software and hardware companies (for example, Microsoft, Google, and Apple) are already competing in this market, and there are dozens of smaller startups putting pencil to paper and mapping out a plan. This bodes well for software sales reps looking for a new market with an established base of constant customers (aka, students and teachers). Even better is the fact that software sales reps in the education space are working as part of a mission to bring education to kids and make the world a better place for the next generation.


If this sounds exciting to you, or even it doesn’t, and you’ve been thinking of transitioning to something else (either a different company or a different market) then let’s talk. I’m a software sales recruiter with almost four decades of experience and I’ve helped thousands of businesses and job seekers find that perfect match. Send me an email at mike@michaelblair.com and let’s connect!

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