It doesn’t take a genius to make the connection between the growth of technology and the advancement of distance learning. But exactly how distance education and online classes will be influenced by cutting-edge technology remains to be seen. A recent report from nonprofit group EDUCABLE and the New Media Consortium pinpoints a few technology trends to watch.
Trends in Online Education
Using the latest gadgets and computer software, even traditional brick-and-mortar schools are tapping the potential of distance learning. For entirely online colleges and universities, these advances simply enhance the fast-growing distance education options.One tech trend identified in the recent “Horizon Report” was more in-depth use of user-generated content, such as blogs, forums, wikis, and more. Such content is expected to play an even bigger role in education in the future, not only as a source of information, but also as a showcase for students’ work. In addition, peers and colleagues everywhere will have a chance to view and comment on the work, whether it was for an online course or an on-campus class assignment.
Distance Learning and Community-Building
Social networking is another aspect of technology highlighted by the report. Using social networking sites–created specifically for students who participate in online classes–education experts hope to increase student networking, for friendships, jobs, and learning opportunities. Mobile phone technology; virtual worlds, such as Second Life; and multiplayer educational gaming are three other tech trends the “Horizon Report” predicts will affect education in the near future. With distance learning gaining more momentum with every leap of technology, there is no better time than now to check out online education options in a topic that appeals to you.