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.
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?
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 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 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.
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”
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.
The Impact of International Students on the U.S. Economy
The U.S. has benefited from being the top destination for the world’s international students, but new enrollments have begun to show signs of weakness.
The Economic Impact of America’s International Students
For decades, the U.S. has been the top destination for students looking to study abroad.
It’s easy to see why. Not only does the country provide access to world-class economic hubs like Silicon Valley, but the U.S. is also home to 14 of the top 20 universities in the world, many of which are famed for their research and alumni networks.
Yet, there is cause for concern.
International enrollments in the U.S. have slowed, while other countries are attracting a larger share of the global talent pool. To help us understand what’s at stake if enrollments continue to decline, today’s infographic shows the impact of international students on the U.S. economy.
Driving American Innovation and Growth
International students and scholars are a vital economic asset, and America’s ability to attract them puts the country in an enviable position.
First, there are the direct economic benefits which result from tuition fees and living expenses. Throughout the 2018/2019 school year, these benefits totaled $41 billion, a comparable value to many other American exports:
Even after graduation, however, international students and scholars continue to make significant contributions to the U.S. economy.
For example, attracting the world’s brightest minds helps to grow the knowledge economy in the United States, and 40% of American Nobel Prizes won in chemistry, medicine, and physics since 2000 have been awarded to immigrants. Furthermore, students who return home often do so with a network of connections and an appreciation for American culture, thus promoting U.S. international leadership.
Finally, these individuals can also go on to become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in the U.S. economy. The list is long, but here are two noteworthy examples:
- Elon Musk, known for founding Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX, was born in South Africa. He received two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania before founding his first business.
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was an international student from India. He received an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of Chicago before helping Microsoft develop its cloud computing capabilities.
Cause for Concern
In recent years, however, the number of new international students enrolling at U.S. institutions has been on the decline:
|School Year||New International Student Enrollments in the U.S.||Percent Change|
With so many opportunities and success stories, why have international enrollments slowed? A survey of 509 higher education institutions in the U.S. revealed the top reasons for declining international enrollments:
|Cited Reason for Decline in Enrollment||% of Institutions|
|% of Institutions|
|% of Institutions
|Visa Application Process (delays/denials)||34%||68%||83%|
|Social and Political Environment||15%||57%||60%|
|Enroll in Another Country’s Institutions||19%||54%||59%|
|Cost of Tuition||51%||55%||57%|
|Securing a Job||-||41%||44%|
Critically, the two most common reasons for declining enrollment—visa applications and the social and political environment—suggest that the quality of an American education is not the issue. Rather, it would appear that students are being discouraged from coming to the United States.
When we discourage or turn away international students, we lose much more than the students themselves… We lose their inventions and innovation, their collaborative input and their contributions to our communities.
– Dr. Martha E. Pollack, President, Cornell University
At the same time, other countries are taking proactive measures to attract global talent.
Australia allows its international students to work for up to 18 months after graduation. This limit can increase to 4 years for graduates of high-demand occupations. In 2018, the country saw a 15% increase in international enrollments.
Canada, a country distinguished for its multiculturalism, is quickly becoming an attractive destination for international students. The country offers expedited visa processing for qualified individuals, as well as a 3-year work visa for graduates. In 2017, international enrollments in Canada grew by an impressive 20%.
The world’s brightest minds are an important asset for continued innovation and growth, and today, there is a mass of countries welcoming them with open arms.
While the U.S. is still the preferred destination for international students and scholars, the country’s leadership in this space is at risk. In fact, since 2001, the share of international students in America has fallen from 28% to 21%.
Will the U.S be able to maintain global competitiveness if the number of new international students enrolling continues to fall? Can the country work to cultivate a more welcoming and barrier-free route to higher education?
These are potent questions that will need to be answered, especially with a sizable economic impact on the line.
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