Artificial intelligence, immersive experiences, machine learning and conversational platforms or ‘chat bots’ are all part of a new generation of tools on offer to support students and educators alike. Driving what could be called a ‘paradigm shift’, these new technologies are changing the way we learn, teach, track, score and compare progress.
Talking personal assistants like ‘Siri’ seemed truly futuristic just a few years ago, but already we have adapted to seeing these kinds of technologies as part of the everyday norm. Many people now rely on Amazon’s Alexa to manage their household utilities, chat to colleagues using workplace collaboration tools like Slack and discover their favourite music listening to playlists recommended by a machine. We even get handy reminders from wearable tech to tell us when we’ve been inactive for too long! But how are these technologies transforming the world of education?
Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of questions will be answered by virtual assistants. At a university in Atlanta, Georgia, students have been having their questions answered by a teaching assistant called ‘Jill’ who is in fact a ‘chat bot’. Professor Ashok Goel from the College of Computing at Georgia Tech introduced the innovative support tool to help respond to the thousands of questions he receives from students during online lectures. Using IBM’s Watson platform the chat bot can respond effectively to a high volume of queries, in a way that is familiar to people. Long gone are the days of trawling forums for answers, instead we are interacting with computers and devices in a way that is increasingly more human.
There are many other ways in which technology is being utilised to improve ways of learning. From ‘chat bots’ to ‘quiz bots’, a similar concept that aims to review student progress in a friendly and easy format. Learners can complete a simple questionnaire to either establish where they are starting from in their learning or track their progress throughout a module. With sophisticated machine-learning in place, students can even receive customised training plans specifically tailored to their individual needs.
The MA Education course at the University of Exeter Online enables students to develop a critical understanding of how technology is shaping education. It offers a rich curriculum examining theory, research, policy and practice in the field of education globally and provides a unique student experience. Delivered by one of the UK’s leading education schools, this course offers a virtual learning environment that allows you to study from anywhere in the world. Students not only enjoy innovative, forward-thinking learning methods, but also further develop their skills and knowledge in this area with topical modules about the future of technology in education. With expert tutelage, students explore new digital technologies, current approaches and critically investigate how future learners may be affected by technological advancements.
Technological advancements happen quickly and there are numerous exciting developments that have the potential to positively impact education in the next few years. An online Masters in Education at the University of Exeter puts you at the forefront of developments in this area and give you the skills to succeed in a wide variety of educational contexts.