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Is edtech leaving the textbook obsolete?

Pupils learn best when they are immersed in study, through interaction and application, and not from reading a book or listening to a lecture.

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Pupils learn best when they are immersed in study, through interaction and application, and not from reading a book or listening to a lecture. So its perhaps no wonder that were entering a new era of educational resources. One in which – due to advances in technology in the classroom – the textbook is becoming obsolete.

Nearly seven in 10 teachers claim that having state-of-the-art IT equipment (such as interactive whiteboards) is more important than investing in traditional textbooks.

Today’s pupils are demanding more engaging educational formats (e.g. apps, hands-on tools, online content, etc. ) that deliver the same level of user experience they are accustomed to outside of the classroom. While it’s understandable that educators may feel nostalgic about the loss of the traditional textbook, modern teachers know that today’s content can deliver unrivalled learning experiences.

Consider virtual reality (VR) for example. Making a big noise in education, with VR teachers can take students on immersive, virtual journeys with access to almost limitless environments full of new things to learn. Students can be launched into space, explore the bottom of the ocean, or make a class trip to see the dinosaurs, all from the comfort of the classroom. While books have been firing the imaginations of learners since formal education began, even the most conventional of teachers has to admit that VR takes this to a whole new level! Find out more about how to use VR in the classroom.

But it’s about more than just thrills and fun. Today, technology in schools is helping students to grasp complex subjects by allowing them to interact with educational content in a way that best suits them. Not only does this approach lead to increased personalisation, but it can also help with comprehension and memory by allowing students to experience learning from a first person perspective.

Lets face it, tomorrows innovators are unlikely to be inspired by activities that involve simply absorbing the words on a page. Instead, edtech gives students the freedom to experiment and collaborate, fostering much-needed cooperation, communication, and problem-solving skills. It could be argued therefore, that the one of the biggest benefits of technology in education is that it is facilitating a return to deep learning – an approach that attracted many to the profession in the first place.

It’s no wonder, therefore, that the use of technology in education is rising rapidly, with edtech spend predicted to reach $252bn globally by 2020; that’s a growth rate of 17.0% per annum.

Of course, while user expectations are part of the reason for this uplift, so to is a growing realisation of the impact and necessity of using technology in education when it comes to preparing students for the 21st Century workforce.

Today’s pupils live in a world where half of the jobs of tomorrow don’t yet exist. So, in the face of the fourth industrial revolution, it makes sense that the tools pupils use to learn, reflect those they will apply in the workplace; an environment where paper-based media has already been superseded by online content, apps, and tools.

As technology continues to evolve, so will the world in which we live and it’s is vital that schools grasp the enhanced tools that are available to them – or risk becoming as out of date as the textbook.




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