Everyone learns differently, meaning all individuals can benefit from a personalized learning experience, like the individualized education system homeschooling and online classrooms offer. Individualized education has proven to inspire independent thinking and an appreciation for learning rather than a focus on grades. And now, with the help of technology, e-learning has made leaps and bounds—especially in the last decade—in order to combine the convenience of homeschooling and distance learning with the quality education of renowned educational institutions.
It’s no secret that the advent of the Internet has brought about an astonishing number of changes to the world of education. When I was in primary school during the 90s, classrooms started having a single computer for students to do research, play educational games, or create digital content. That seems like forever ago on a technological development scale, considering that students in some schools today are all receiving their own tablets or laptops with an exponential increase in number of resources.
Online classes started becoming more and more common as I made my way into university in the late 2000s. Instead of committing to a three-hour total commute for a single 90-minute class, students could take in that same lecture from home through a recorded or live lecture with follow-up homework and assignments, only having to come in once for the final exam.
Of course, some students need that interaction with their teachers and classmates. This is where present and future technologies will completely revolutionize and give a whole new definition to e-learning. If we look at applications that we use in 2017, such as FaceTime, Skype, or other video conferencing applications, it is easy to see that they will soon be widely integrated into e-learning.
Apps such as Rabbit are changing the way people work together; instead of having to meet up in a library or common room, they would communicate through an online room with video chat, where they can invite whoever they like, share documents, and watch videos together. Students use apps like these to study without the inconvenience of displacing themselves through taxing public transit systems or bad weather conditions.
In terms of hardware, inventions such as Google Glass or Virtual Reality headsets can trick your mind into being right in the middle of the action without being there at all. Imagine watching your professor perform a lecture about Greek sculpture streamed live to your VR headset, feeling as if you were actually in the classroom. You are then thrown into the 6th century BCE, watching a sculptor work and exploring the area in three dimensions. When the class is over, you take off your headset and you are still sitting at your kitchen table, ready to eat lunch and then go out for a jog.
Technology has already revolutionized education, but developments in video conferencing services and virtual reality will continue that trend and attract more students as the years go on. If university students are taking an average of one or two classes Online per semester, it is safe to predict that it will be three to four by 2020.
With these advanced technological developments, there’s no telling how soon high school students and their parents will also be on board.