Across the internet, you’ll find a popular meme that shows the contrast between “when I was a kid” and “kids today”. On one side, there will be a photo of a kid playing outside and on the other will be a photo of a kid sitting around playing on his phone. Let me help you if you haven’t seen it.
That’s funny, No? This is a popular conversation in our culture and it is entirely understandable why. Older generations view children today as being far different than they were. In nearly every area, life has drastically changed, and now more than ever, people are not sure how to respond.
Some have painted technology as the enemy of youth development and crusade against it. But others are viewing it in a different light, deciding instead to utilize it for good and learn to live in a more digital world.
These are three ways that entrepreneurs are working to make technology to improve education.
The Gamification industry as a whole is predicted to become a $5.5 billion dollar industry by 2018.
Looking at the data, it’s understandable why. Gamification delivers a unique, engaging experience and when it comes to children, there are few things as important as engagement.
Discussing this trend, Scott McQuigg, CEO of GoNoodle, a company that gets kids moving and learning through online videos and games, explained, “Game mechanics that inspire and reward new levels of achievement are present in every popular game children play. When you apply gamification to education, kids take inspiration to problem-solving and put in the extra effort to achieve higher levels of learning.”
In the most simple form, gamification makes learning more fun and with that, children, parents and teachers only stand to win.
Much like gamification, VR increases overall engagement by creating a fully immersive, interactive world. While the world that is created is still available to kids if they opted to play outside, teachers have the opportunity to leverage the virtual environment to improve the education experience.
A study done by Touchstone Research found that kids were well aware of what VR was with 79% reporting they had heard of VR before and had a baseline understanding of what it was.
Looking at the types of experiences children were looking forward to having included trips to new countries, traveling back in time, flying and of course, playing a video game.
The potential for VR to open up new experiences to children that otherwise would not be possible, highlight the exciting potential that emerging technologies have to offer. In particular, educators are looking to apply VR format education to subjects like language education, applied sciences, and history, all of which will aid an immersive and visually stimulating presentation.
In the past, learning was only happening in one place: the classroom. Today, however, online courses and learning are becoming more and more popular. A study by GSV Advisors estimated the global online and digital education market to reach $4.38 trillion by 2022.
Companies like Coursera feature thousands of online courses from leading universities serving over 24,000,000 active users. But the medium people use to access these learning resources is evolving as well. Now, mobile devices, which allow users to access learning platforms on the go or whenever they have a few minutes between activities, are used by 67% of smartphone owners.
Entrepreneurs who can format their educational materials for the mobile interface can enter into a growing field where the demand is high.
As these trends continue to shift, the one thing that remains clear is that education as we know it is changing. McQuigg says, “The key is leveraging kid’s preference for screens to help them get moving. In doing so, we can keep them visually engaged, but also involved in short and impactful periods of movement.”
While some may find these changes concerning, entrepreneurs are actively working to make our digital future serve our needs, not interfere.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.