Ever wonder if there is a chance to overcome the limitations of your brain? Such as avoiding short-term memory fog, or language – learning difficulties? Ever thought it could be a smarter way to live the life? Just about everyone has this thought whenever they stumble upon something that others can do in the blink of the eye.
Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen from Google, believe that it is a matter of time when our neurological limits, that lead to forgetfulness and oversight, will be supported by complex information systems to make our lives and brains more efficient. With such progress in sight, it is enough to assume that our conversations will finally be liberated from hasty generalizations, and biases or that our not-so-perfect communication in the second language would be soon improved as we speak or write.
If you think it is a distant prospect, think again. Most of the available gadgets are already here to help. Latest technology offers a lot to augment our cognitive abilities, from brain implants, instant language translations, to smartphones rescuing us from trivialities of everyday struggles.
As new technologies are being introduced into schools up and down the country, it is safe to say that the new era of education is no longer a future prospect.
Managing director of Public Services, Victoria Short –
“ the classrooms of tomorrow are here today”.
Public schools are leading the way when it comes incorporating digital technology into its syllabus, Shireland Academy in the West Midlands. won “School of the Year” in 2013 in “Apps for Good” category and have gone on to partner with Microsoft and SMART technologies, an organization that helps teachers to gain the necessary expertise for creating engaging lessons with high-tech gadgets. Curriculum innovations, such as immersive classes during which students have to create a simulation of cities using Minecraft game, projected on 60ft screen stretched across three walls, are praised by teachers who designed them, for their ability to improve students spatial reasoning and teach them practical skills such as planning to a tight budget.
There is more to this than just igniting student engagement, though. Research has also found sound evidence to think that enhancement of visual abilities can have significant benefits to the way we learn since our knowledge primarily derives from visual perceptions. Whereas there are plenty of corrective methods to fix visual deficits resulting from the properties of the eye, practices that could improve brain prowess to process visual information are still limited. So far scientists believe gamification is one of the most effective techniques available. Relying on immersive classes, teachers can kill two birds with one stone. As those in favor of gamification sustain, students who learn through visual experience, not only benefit from the material that is being taught but also get better at the perception of elementary features, line orientation and recognizing images.
Despite the promises of perceptual learning, gamification is still not as popular as teaching programming skills at schools are. The trend to nurture future programmers is today what having a degree was in 1910 or doing MBA ten years ago. Need evidence? The complaints of ministers and tech companies, like Google and Microsoft, on the previous ICT curriculum, has resulted in adding coding classes into the national curriculum in 2013. Now, upon leaving secondary school, children are expected to know at least how to use one programming language in order to create their own programs. The rapidly growing business of coding boot camps only adds up to the ambition of turning everyone into a developer.
Introducing new approaches to learning will grow rapidly. The reason for using more advanced information technology is mainly due to the pressure that comes from the job market, and recent long-term endeavors to close the “skills-gap” between the number of technology positions and people qualified to fill them.
Schools, but most importantly universities competing to attract prospective students, will have to adjust their teaching techniques, and divert from traditional subject-based teaching in favor of classes that will teach skills useful in truly techy societies. Not only will traditional subject-based modules change, the teachers will too, as the success of this endeavor will largely depend on skilled, tech-savvy educators, who know, or aren’t scared to learn how to “ talk with computers”. With just a glance at the job market, we can see that there is already a significant demand for STEM-based teaching roles.
With smartwatches, live chat support, and video classes, curriculums around the UK are being heavily modernized to augment teachers’ work, making the learning experience for students more engaging. Indeed, it seems that the new technology is already dictating how we learn. But as our kids, youngsters and students are becoming smarter, or at least better at technology, it feels right to keep on asking questions about how these innovations are influencing our cognitive abilities. Is gamification really, the only way to improve our visual reasoning, and is coding the single most-useful skill to have?
Not everyone seems to be convinced. The near constant interactions that we have with digital technology, can also have a bad effect on our brains. After all, except making us utterly efficient, technology is also known for making us lazier, and …dumber, as we choose to off-load most of the things that we might have had to remember in the past, to portable devices we carry every day.
Finally, the effortless learning methods, such as learning through gamification, are often blamed for withholding students from learning the necessary grit. If everything is a pleasure, how do you teach resilience? Manipulating the trivium of classical education in order to fit the shaky markets, might also seem like a risky idea. Once the trend changes, what will happen to the cohort of people who spent their lives learning how to code? Will they have a chance to assist AI that will replace them, or will they have to learn another skill?