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iPads, iBooks, new tech: IT University Online discusses education in 2014

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It should come as no surprise that technology is at the center of education trends expected in 2014, note the professionals at IT University Online. IT University Online, the leader in online IT training courses, builds its curriculum using proven educational concepts.

The children of Generation X are comfortable with computers. Tech savvy parents are introducing their toddlers to technology through the thousands of education and entertainment apps available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Some parents may focus on the use of these electronic devices as a means to occupy their kids during long trips, or to keep them busy and quiet at home. Many are capitalizing on the quality education apps available for reading, math, and geometry…the list is almost endless. Parents using apps to support their kids’ education are actually giving their kids an early introduction to the growing trends of Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs).

By the time these kids hit the pre-school classroom at four years old, they know the difference between a left-, right- and double-click. They can quickly navigate their way through touch screen devices to seek out apps. Desktop computers are already commonplace within elementary schools with iPads beginning to make an appearance.

IT University Online note, “Technology is becoming a higher priority for many Parent Advisory Committees (PACs).” They now expand their typical portfolio of field trip and playground equipment fundraisers, to make room for iPads.

Classrooms and teachers are recognizing the need to adapt in order to accommodate the influx of technology into their curriculum. The high school students without a cell phone are the minority. Not just used for texting and talking, but with WiFi and 3G/4G access to the Internet and the cloud, teens are relying more heavily on technology for research and information sharing.

Primarily because of budgetary restrictions, desktop computers are still the norm in most secondary schools. However, in order to sufficiently prepare their students for the future, schools are going to have to embrace mobile technology.

One of the ways schools are circumventing the budgetary concerns, is to implement B.Y.O.D. – Bring Your Own Device. An increasing number of students are doing it anyway, so by making it a standard requirement they can monitor individual limitations and provide selective funded where needed. Programs to support funding for families who cannot afford standard school supplies are already in existence and can be adjusted to include iPads, which are the tablet of choice in the education system.

There is also cost- saving potential to the introduction of iPads as a standard tool for learning. By making use of the cloud, information previously provided to students through hard copy textbooks can be stored in the cloud. This is available through the popular iBooks application. Apple offers both iBooks 2 and iBookstore, both offering electronic textbooks as part of their goal to revolutionize education.

Phil Schiller, Apple marketing senior vice president, announced at a 2012 education event that they owe much of their early success to education. Giving back to the education system is good business. By offering applications that reduce the use of expensive textbooks [that become outdated] school boards will save a substantial amount of money.

Post-secondary institutions have already widely embraced the use of iPads in their classrooms and gone are the days of students scrambling to copy down notes from the boards. Professors are now able to make notes available in the Cloud.

The face of post-secondary education is quickly changing with the introduction and growing acceptance of MOOCs. Georgia Tech now offers an entirely online Master’s degree. According to The New York Times, this “could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.”

There is still much debate about the validity of MOOCs; however, as with most advancements in technology, it can either be a benefit or a detriment to the education system, depending on how it is managed.

It University Online Note Changes to AP and GED Exams

Big changes are also in the works for Advanced Placement (AP) and General Education Development (GED) exams. AP exams are primarily designed for secondary student’s intent on continuing their education at a post-secondary level. The GED test is typically taken by adults who were unsuccessful in graduating high school.

Among concerns that memorization remains a necessary element of learning, the College Board is moving AP exams away from memorization towards “critical thinking, inquiry, reasoning, and communication skills.’ Helping to prepare people for the so-called ‘knowledge economy’ remains a goal of the AP exam. The approach is evolving to embrace the anticipated employment requirements of future generations.

Although changes to the AP exam are relatively minor, the new GED exam is going to be vastly different than in past years. One of the most notable differences is that test-takers will be required to use a computer. They will also be expected to have a broader knowledge of the topics and significantly stronger writing skills. Change is seldom easy, but the GED test-takers may find the first year of the new format particularly challenging as teachers rush to adjust the curriculum in order to sufficiently prepare students.

No matter the age of student or the particular area of technology affecting the education system, 2014 will see some exciting changes in education. Technical distance learning will remain at the forefront of these changes. IT University Online has a passion for excellence and continues to set the standard in the IT training space; visit their professional LinkedIn profile for more details.



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