Software that is artificially intelligent will soon enough replace the conventional textbook. In a few years, this change will completely revamp the education system. But is the change good or bad? Should we also expect a change in teaching methods as well? Whether we like it or not, digital in-class materials are already present in many schools and colleges around the country. Books have been replaced with software programs and tools that help students understand things a lot better; virtual education is here to stay, and as long as technology keeps advancing it’s safe to say many new improvements will be added into the mix.
Software that can adapt to a student’s own learning pace and additional forms of digital education material is becoming increasingly more intelligent and effective. Why is software replacing textbooks? Mainly, because it is affordable and it offers learning opportunities to everyone; not all students can afford to pay for the most expensive books to craft perfect essays. But they can go online and download free apps that let them get ebooks for free.
The benefits of online learning are numerous. Videos are replacing conventional teaching methods because they’re more visual and easy to learn; students can pause, rewind or stop each time they feel like they could use a break. Slides, online courses and apps that make reading and learning easier are gaining increasingly more popularity.
Technology shouldn’t be seen as a means to an end
Advanced technology doesn’t just provide cheap alternatives for the conventional learning method, it also offers more efficient techniques that students can understand a lot easier. The resources available online can save students a lot of cash, but they can also help them learn things faster. According to recent reports, technology has impacted the way the textbook marketplace functions. In spite of the tech breakthrough in education, many colleges still use conventional textbooks and only adopt digital content as an alternative resource. Limiting a student’s access to information available online is merely a continuation of poor learning, and nowadays full access to the web is paramount for students to learn and understand a given subject.
A thorough software tool that helps student learn is Collections; which is in fact tech-enabled software that streamlines text reviewing and analyzing. It acts like a teacher who reads an excerpt, asks questions and then assigns essays on an interface. Students can use the software to highlight important materials, ask virtual questions and take notes. Collections also include a special button (“raise hand”) that students can use to alert a virtual teacher than they have a question to ask.
The program can also pre-select paragraphs that are challenging to understand, and flags them with a tag (“close reading” tag). By clicking the button students will receive a short explanatory video of the most difficult terms and phrases from that paragraph.
Adaptive software is the future of learning
ALEKS is yet another type of software with great potential in education. The web-based tool examines and assesses students in accounting, match, chemistry and statistics. Launched in 1999 (when technology is education was barely present), ALEKS was bought in 2013 when it was totally renewed and adapted to individual online learning.
ALEKS can mold after a student’s individual skill set and knowledge. The software can build a detailed database where it details the level of proficiency of the student. The gathered information is then used to craft questions that are particularly challenging for that student. Based on twenty years of intense research, ALEKS was developed with the help of skilled engineers and math professionals. It can instantly analyze the individual learning abilities of each student in a classroom. For many teachers, that is impossible to do.
Even though digitized materials can be of great help in schools, some institutions don’t want to see software solutions as learning tools. And that’s mainly because most teachers can’t use it. Twenty years from now, when 40 something professors will know what technology is all about, everything will change. Software may not entirely replace conventional textbooks, but it certainly helps make the learning process a lot smoother and easier to understand by average students.