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The Intersection of Education and Technology: Maximising Learning Potential

Education is crucial to developing a skilled workforce and promoting social mobility. Yet, there is no greater time than now for learners to access an online learning ecosystem to support equitable access and allow students to demonstrate their knowledge despite any barrier.

Since the pandemic’s onset, an educational equity crisis has become increasingly apparent. COVID-19 demonstrated that learners require a clear and direct need for an online learning ecosystem that can support equitable access, improve content creation and instruction among educators, and allow students to demonstrate their knowledge despite any barrier.

According to Instructure’s 2022 global study State of Student Success and Engagement in Higher Education, educational and available technology resources are the most impactful factors driving student success in the UK. This statistic coincides with other key findings from the report that stated socioeconomic factors, including psychological well-being and access to the internet, learning resources, and technological devices, have the most significant impact on student success and engagement.

Society is at a point when education and technology have become intertwined. Due to this, internet connectivity continues to be one of the most basic needs of learners across the globe. To combat this, higher education must directly respond to student’s needs, including focusing on bridging the digital divide in various ways.

Equitable access to technology and other socioeconomic factors

The study indicated that students increasingly believe that technology helps make life more organised, thereby defining success in educational paths. Students and administrators alike feel student success is driven by factors such as access to the internet (90%) and available technology (86%).

It is important to note that while educational technology resources and providing good research opportunities sit within the institution’s control, several socioeconomic factors are at play. Respondents cited access to the internet and access to technological devices as crucial factors affecting student success.

In the UK, providing equitable access for students is at the forefront of the minds of educators and administrators. This means that every student in a classroom or online course should have the same opportunities as any other student – whether that be facilities, an excellent tutor, or resources like books or other supplementary materials. More common in recent years, equitable access is the notion that we must make a significant effort to remove the barriers that disproportionately impact students with less socioeconomic benefits.

Overall, internet connectivity is crucial to student success, providing access to resources, online learning opportunities, collaboration and communication tools, and greater flexibility regarding when and where learning occurs. Without reliable internet access, many students may be disadvantaged when succeeding in their academic and professional endeavours.

It is vital to consider socioeconomic factors when evaluating student success to ensure that all students can achieve their full potential. By understanding the challenges students may be facing and providing the support and resources they need, educators and policymakers can help create a more equitable education system that also addresses mental well-being challenges.

What is technology being used for and how is it contributing to student engagement?

Over the past three years, the role of technology in communicating with students and keeping them engaged has increased significantly. While institutions continue to provide traditional in-person initiatives to keep students engaged, such as allowing students to book office hours with faculty, many institutions turned to technology to engage with students when in-person interaction was not an option.

The feeling that online learning allows students to attend but not participate in class is a common concern for many educators and administrators, demonstrating how higher education must take the time to find the right technology that can be interactive and collaborative. Students may face distractions while learning online, such as social media, messaging apps, or other digital distractions. This can make it challenging to stay focused and engaged in online classes. Additionally, some students may not feel comfortable participating in online courses due to anxiety or shyness, which can lead to a reluctance to participate in discussions or activities.

To bypass this, institutions must utilise virtual learning environments for assessments, tests and quizzes while enabling interactive and engaging learning activities. Still, institutions need a broader perspective, considering how their virtual learning environment fits into the wider learning ecosystem. It is imperative for institutions to consider how their technology choices support the future of learning, which will likely include more hybrid and remote education.

Likewise, technology must continue to evolve to bring engagement and safe environments to the forefront of the digital classroom to ensure students are able to participate in a multi-dimensional capacity. There is an increasing emphasis on tools to address student wellness and success. The emergence of these tools are fundamental to ensure that we are providing students safety and are able to keep them actively involved in the learning process.

Education that Fuels a Skilled Workforce

Education is the key to developing a skilled workforce, promoting innovation, enhancing economic competitiveness, and promoting social mobility. It also contributes to the development of human skills and technological advancement, which is essential for long-term economic growth. Technology has transformed how we approach education, making it more accessible, adaptable, and curated. As we work to advance the edtech space, we need to find better ways to extend access to more learners and help them reach their full potential.

By Sidharth Oberoi, Vice President of International Strategy for Instructure

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