Do you know what e-Learning is? Do you want to know the direction the digital transformation in schools is going? Digital transformation is very present today throughout our society, and this could not be less for the education sector. Whether you are a school, a language school, or simply a parent concerned about the future of their children, read on.
The giant steps society and the world are taking in terms of digitization are leading us to a new panorama in all sectors, including education. Therefore, there is no choice but to prepare yourself to get ahead of the change; to know the new methods and trends that are appearing in today’s education. The schools of the future are already here, and are here to stay. In this article, you will learn about the direction education is moving, and will move in the coming years.
Level of digitization in Spanish schools
First of all, it is necessary to know the current level of digitization in Spanish schools. Despite what many may think, Spain is in a good place; although it is true we are not at the forefront of innovation and implementation of all these teaching methods. Not many schools are fully digitized, but those that do implement it are usually leaders in the sector. Let’s take a look at some interesting data.
In terms of media availability,use of computers, tablets, digital equipment, and high-speed internet, Spain is ahead of the European Union with 68% of Spanish schools using these media compared to 53% of European schools, according to a study by the European Commission. However, Spanish students use these resources less than European students, 50% versus 60%. This indicates the importance of applying the resources to the teaching methods.
“the global e-Learning market continues to show strong growth rates estimated at an annual rate of 7.9% between 2012 and 2016.”
Of course, there is also a big problem called the “digital divide”. This is because although only 10% of Spanish households do not have internet, in low-income families it is quite complicated to be able to have sufficient means to carry out complete training through e-Learning.
On the other hand, the global e-Learning market continues to show strong growth rates, estimated at an annual rate of 7.9% between 2012 and 2016. Also, every year both, supply and demand for MOOCs (massive open online courses) increases. This has increased the growth of the main platforms that offer these courses such as Udacity, edX, Coursera, and many more.
The barriers to the digital transformation of schools
Believe it or not, digital transformation is a fact, and it is the direction that our society is taking. But as in everything, not everyone is open to change. Although there are a large number of innovative initiatives and projects, there are also many entities in the world of education and training that encounter difficulties when it comes to initiating digital development. These are the main barriers to entry we find today:
Reluctance on the part of some trainers
In any society, there are always people who are more open to change than others, because of their own personalities. Today, many trainers are still unwilling to change, and are still reluctant to the introduction of new technologies and new teaching methods that are emerging. This resistance to change can originate from two aspects, from the incorrect implementation of the methods, or from fear of the unknown.
Lack of knowledge in digital issues
This point is often related to the previous one. There is still a lack of knowledge on the part of trainers about the potential of digital technologies in traditional education, and the new ways of using them. It is therefore vital to raise awareness among teachers and even offer training to them. They must feel that they are part of the change,and that the tools will not replace them, but will help them.
“It has been prioritized to implement for the sake of implementing, rather than implementing for a specific cause.”
Very rapid changes and lack of a special plan for it
In recent years, changes have been too big and too fast, which has meant, in most cases, these new technologies have been implemented in a crazy way and without any specific plan, causing chaos and disorder. Priority has been given to “implementing for the sake of implementing”, instead of “implementing for a specific cause”. This is why it is necessary to develop a specific digitization plan with objectives.
Lack of a IT specialist
This is another point with the lack of planning. In most cases, in schools there is no department specifically dedicated to digital resources, or dedicated to the implementation of new technologies. The emergence of this IT specialist can become key to definitively boost the digital transformation in centers. You need someone capable defining and coordinating the strategies to follow.
“The big plans should always be much more elaborate approaches, and should be started and shared by the entire faculty.”
Differences between the public and private sector
The different models of education that exist at all stages of training, from the earliest ages to the corporate level, makes it difficult to implement a comprehensive plan to digitally transform the education sector. The differences between the public and private sectors, and between Spanish autonomous regions has created great inequalities.
Limitation of resources
As you already know, unfortunately, resources are not unlimited. Investing in technology today is still expensive, so it is not easy to get the necessary means to implement the digital transformation. Also, governments do not usually take into account education in their budgets, so this sector is often shorted. On the other hand, obsolescence and lightening fast change in these technologies means that investment must be continuous.
“Digitalization in schools advances at a slow pace, but it is something necessary for the whole society.”
Lack of homogeneity in the use of technology
Normally in education, we can see big differences in the standardization of technology use. This is because actions are usually led by innovative teachers rather than by large global plans. The interesting thing about these individual actions is they are often true success stories, and are the beginning of more advanced plans. And although we should not despise these individual actions, the big plans should always be much more elaborate approaches and should be embraced by the entire teaching staff.
Little content designed exclusively for learning
It is true more and more new technologies can be found in the marketplace, and the possibilities offered by media devices are practically unlimited. But usually, the devices are created for a generalized use and not for a specific education use. This is why there is a need for more materials designed for the educational system.
The basic pillars of digitization in schools
Now you have seen the main statistics on digital transformation in Spanish schools, along with the major barriers. It is time to take action and develop a full and specific plan designed by and for schools. To do this, you need to know the fundamental pillars on which the digitization of schools moves and from which any plan must start.
The cloud in education
The cloud has been the driver of digitization around the world, and it could not be less in education. Being in the cloud allows you to share content easily in real-time, allows you to collaborate and work in teams, to store the courses and have access to them at any time and anywhere. In short, they help to make the life of the student and the teacher simpler, making tasks much easier. This is one of the pillars moving forward quickly in educational development.
The mobile device in education
Today, practically the entire population has mobile devices and this will continue to grow. Besides, devices are becoming more powerful and offer more possibilities. Internet connections, and mobile data allow us to be connected everywhere and with high speed. This allows us to have a great variety of knowledge accessible at any time and in any place. These are the main aspects offered by mobile devices.
The Internet of Things or IoT in education
The internet of things or objects has brought about a revolution in all aspects of digitization. As far as the education sector is concerned, IoT added to cloud technology and Big Data gives us a real-time view of what is happening in any educational center. It allows us to obtain real-time data on anything to make decisions and offer a better experience to the student. These are the axis along which the Internet of Things is moving:
Social networks in education
When we talk about social networks for the education sector, we are not talking about Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or Instagram. When we talk about social networks for education, the real potential can be found in social networks adapted to this field. These networks, which are becoming more and more common, are those that facilitate the permanent contact between teachers, students, managers, and even families. There are several axis on which social networks move.
Trends in the digital transformation of schools
Now that you know, more or less, where the digitization plan of any school should go, it is also necessary to know what the future may hold. That is, where this digitization is heading, because as you well know, technological improvements are moving rapidly and you must be well informed and updated to avoid being caught by the bull. These are the main trends:
The challenge and opportunity digital transformation offers to schools
Digital transformation is a great challenge for all aspects of society, including schools and the entire educational sector. But like everything else, this is something that can also be seen as a great opportunity to improve the overall education system, which often works poorly.
More and more schools are opting for new teaching models adapted to new technologies, and this is because of the great benefits it provides for both students and teachers. I hope you have been convinced a change is necessary, and also learned how to get there.