How Technology is Shaping the Future of Education
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How Technology is Shaping the Future of Education

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Technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives, and now it seems that education systems around the world are due for an update.

Educators are tapping into the digital revolution and adopting new technologies to help students reach their full potential, but can they adapt quickly enough to prepare children for the changing future of work?

The Growing Role of Tech in Classrooms

Today’s infographic from Best Education Degrees explores the different ways technology is transforming classrooms, and disrupting education as we know it.

future of education graphic

The Next Generation

Although some might view technology as pervasive, for younger generations, it is ever-present.

Children and young adults make up one-third of all internet users, so it’s no surprise that they are more hyper-connected and digitally savvy than their parents.

The combination of evolving educational needs for children and a more uncertain future of work means that updating what children learn, and how they learn it, has become a crucial issue for schools and colleges—but what should be prioritized?

Classrooms 2.0

In a survey of 1,400 educators, the majority of them say they believe that classrooms of the future will be centered around self-paced and personalized learning.

This student-centric approach would allow children to choose their own pace and learning objectives based on individual interests—all of which could be guided by artificial intelligence, chatbots, and video-based learning.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence in education typically focuses on identifying what a student does or doesn’t know, and then subsequently developing a personalized curricula for each student.

The AI-powered language learning platform Duolingo is one of the most downloaded education apps globally, with more than 50 million installs in 2018. The platform single-handedly challenges the notion of traditional learning, with a study showing that spending just 34 hours on the app equates to an entire university semester of language education.

AI-driven applications in education are still in their infancy, but Duolingo’s success demonstrates the growth potential in the sector. In fact, the nascent market for AI in education is expected to reach $6 billion by the year 2025. Over half of this will come from China and the U.S., with China leading globally.

Chatbots

Chatbots are also quickly becoming a fundamental tool in next generation education. Designed to simplify the interaction between student and computer, chatbots provide a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Spaced interval learning: Uses algorithms and repetition to optimize memorization
  • Immediate feedback: Papers can be graded with 92% accuracy and in a faster time than teachers
  • Self-paced learning: Tracks a student’s performance and guides them based on their individual needs

This innovative technology is arming educators with new strategies for more engaged learning, whilst simultaneously reducing their workload.

Video Learning

Although video-based learning may not necessarily be considered as innovative as artificial intelligence or chatbots, 98% of educators view it as a vital component in personalized learning experiences. Most institutions report incorporating video into their curriculums in some way, but even higher demand for video-based learning may come from students in the near future.

This is due to the fact that video learning increases student satisfaction by 91%, and student achievements by 82%, which could be why educators are increasingly using video for tasks like:

  • Providing material for student assignments
  • Giving feedback on assignments
  • Flipped instruction (blended learning) exercises

A flipped classroom overturns conventional learning by focusing on practical content that is delivered online and often outside the classroom.

The Battle Between Traditional and Tech

Flipping classrooms is a trend that has gained momentum in recent years—and may be considered to be a radical change in how students absorb information. The relatively new model also eliminates homework, by empowering students to work collaboratively on their tasks during class time.

Although new models of learning are disrupting the status quo of traditional learning, could the increasing amount of time children spend in front of screens be detrimental?

Research has shown that children are more likely to absorb information from books rather than screens. There has also been an evident increase in low-tech or tech-free schools that believe that human interaction is paramount when it comes to keeping children engaged and excited to learn.

Creating First-Class Humans

Although we may not be in the era of iTeachers just yet, the benefits of technology as teaching aids are undeniable. However, what is more important is that these aids are used in tandem with developmental and educational psychology—ultimately keeping students rather than technology at the core of education.

The future will be about pairing the artificial intelligence of computers with the cognitive, social and emotional capabilities of humans, so that we educate first-class humans, not second-class robots”

—OECD, Trends Shaping Education report

After all, how children develop these skills is perhaps less important than their ability to navigate change, as that is the only thing that will remain constant.

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The Top Downloaded Apps in 2022

Six of the top 10 most downloaded apps in Q1 2022 were social media apps, and four of them are owned by Meta.

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The most popular apps in Q1 2022, by number of downloads

The Top Downloaded Apps in 2022

Whether they’re providing a service like ride-sharing or acting as a mere source of entertainment, mobile apps have become an integral part of many peoples’ day-to-day lives.

But which apps are most popular among users?

This graphic uses data from a recent report by Sensor Tower to show the top 10 most downloaded apps around the world in Q1 2022 from the Google Play and Apple App Store.

Social Reigns Supreme

According to the report, total app downloads reached 36.9 billion in Q1 2022, a 1.4% increase compared to Q1 2021.

A majority of the top 10 most downloaded apps were social media platforms, with Meta and ByteDance owning six of the top 10.

RankAppCategory
1TikTokEntertainment
2InstagramPhoto and video
3FacebookSocial networking
4WhatsAppMessaging
5ShopeeShopping
6TelegramMessaging
7SnapchatPhoto and video
8MessengerMessaging
9CapCutPhoto and video
10SpotifyMusic

Meta’s four platforms on the list are Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger, while ByteDance owns TikTok and video-editing platform CapCut.

Just outside the top 10 are Zoom and WhatsApp Business (yet another Meta-owned app).

TikTok’s Winding Road to the Top

In Q1 2021, TikTok exceeded 3.5 billion all-time downloads, becoming the fifth app (and the first non-Meta app) to reach this milestone. This is impressive considering the app has been banned in India as of June 2020. Prior to the ban, India accounted for 30% of TikTok’s downloads.

India’s not the only country that’s banned the use of TikTok. Pakistan has blocked TikTok multiple times because of concerns over “inappropriate” content. However, it’s worth noting that the bans in Pakistan only lasted a few days before being lifted, and currently, Pakistanis are able to access the platform.

Top 10 Highest Grossing Apps

TikTok isn’t just the most downloaded app in the world—it’s also the highest-grossing non-game app, based on Q1 2022 revenue from the App Store and Google Play:

RankAppCategory
1TikTokEntertainment
2YouTubePhoto and video
3Disney+Entertainment
4Google OneProductivity
5TinderLifestyle
6PiccomaBooks
7Tencent VideoEntertainment
8iQIYIEntertainment
9HBO MaxEntertainment
10LINE MangaEntertainment

TikTok generated an impressive $821 million in consumer spending in the last quarter. The video-sharing platform was the top-grossing app on the App Store, and the second-highest-grossing on Google Play, coming just after Google One.

While none of Meta’s platforms made it onto the top 10 list for gross revenue, these platforms make a ton of money that doesn’t necessarily flow through app stores. In 2021, Meta generated more than $117.9 billion in revenue, with over 97% of that coming from ads.

Growth’s on the Horizon

The pandemic had a massive impact on the app market.

In 2020, app spending on things like premium access, in-app purchases, and subscriptions surged by 30% year-over-year to reach $111 billion.

And while COVID-19 restrictions are easing in most places around the world, app spending isn’t likely to taper off anytime soon. By 2025, spending is expected to grow to $270 billion.

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Synthetic Biology: The $3.6 Trillion Science Changing Life as We Know It

The field of synthetic biology could solve problems in a wide range of industries, from medicine to agriculture—here’s how.

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How Synthetic Biology Could Change Life as we Know it

Synthetic biology (synbio) is a field of science that redesigns organisms in an effort to enhance and support human life. According to one projection, this rapidly growing field of science is expected to reach $28.8 billion in global revenue by 2026.

Although it has the potential to transform many aspects of society, things could go horribly wrong if synbio is used for malicious or unethical reasons. This infographic explores the opportunities and potential risks that this budding field of science has to offer.

What is Synthetic Biology?

We’ve covered the basics of synbio in previous work, but as a refresher, here’s a quick explanation of what synbio is and how it works.

Synbio is an area of scientific research that involves editing and redesigning different biological components and systems in various organisms.

It’s like genetic engineering but done at a more granular level—while genetic engineering transfers ready-made genetic material between organisms, synbio can build new genetic material from scratch.

The Opportunities of Synbio

This field of science has a plethora of real-world applications that could transform our everyday lives. A study by McKinsey found over 400 potential uses for synbio, which were broken down into four main categories:

  • Human health and performance
  • Agriculture and food
  • Consumer products and services
  • Materials and energy production

If those potential uses become reality in the coming years, they could have a direct economic impact of up to $3.6 trillion per year by 2030-2040.

1. Human Health and Performance

The medical and health sector is predicted to be significantly influenced by synbio, with an economic impact of up to $1.3 trillion each year by 2030-2040.

Synbio has a wide range of medical applications. For instance, it can be used to manipulate biological pathways in yeast to produce an anti-malaria treatment.

It could also enhance gene therapy. Using synbio techniques, the British biotech company Touchlight Genetics is working on a way to build synthetic DNA without the use of bacteria, which would be a game-changer for the field of gene therapy.

2. Agriculture and Food

Synbio has the potential to make a big splash in the agricultural sector as well—up to $1.2 trillion per year by as early as 2030.

One example of this is synbio’s role in cellular agriculture, which is when meat is created from cells directly. The cost of creating lab-grown meat has decreased significantly in recent years, and because of this, various startups around the world are beginning to develop a variety of cell-based meat products.

3. Consumer Products and Services

Using synthetic biology, products could be tailored to suit an individual’s unique needs. This would be useful in fields such as genetic ancestry testing, gene therapy, and age-related skin procedures.

By 2030-2040, synthetic biology could have an economic impact on consumer products and services to the tune of up to $800 billion per year.

4. Materials and Energy Production

Synbio could also be used to boost efficiency in clean energy and biofuel production. For instance, microalgae are currently being “reprogrammed” to produce clean energy in an economically feasible way.

This, along with other material and energy improvements through synbio methods, could have a direct economic impact of up to $300 billion each year.

The Potential Risks of Synbio

While the potential economic and societal benefits of synthetic biology are vast, there are a number of risks to be aware of as well:

  • Unintended biological consequences: Making tweaks to any biological system can have ripple effects across entire ecosystems or species. When any sort of lifeform is manipulated, things don’t always go according to plan.
  • Moral issues: How far we’re comfortable going with synbio depends on our values. Certain synbio applications, such as embryo editing, are controversial. If these types of applications become mainstream, they could have massive societal implications, with the potential to increase polarization within communities.
  • Unequal access: Innovation and progress in synbio is happening faster in wealthier countries than it is in developing ones. If this trend continues, access to these types of technology may not be equal worldwide. We’ve already witnessed this type of access gap during the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, where a majority of vaccines have been administered in rich countries.
  • Bioweaponry: Synbio could be used to recreate viruses, or manipulate bacteria to make it more dangerous, if used with ill intent.

According to a group of scientists at the University of Edinburgh, communication between the public, synthetic biologists, and political decision-makers is crucial so that these societal and environmental risks can be mitigated.

Balancing Risk and Reward

Despite the risks involved, innovation in synbio is happening at a rapid pace.

By 2030, most people will have likely eaten, worn, or been treated by a product created by synthetic biology, according to synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt.

Our choices today will dictate the future of synbio, and how we navigate through this space will have a massive impact on our future—for better, or for worse.

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