Before apps and emergent digital technologies, learning was usually limited to reading a book or having access to your schools’ resources. However, that is not the case anymore. In fact, with digital technologies such as smartphones and tablets that we are now able to have access to, we are able to take education to the next level and learn from the comfort of wherever we may be.
Feel like university is not the right path for you? Still want to gain knowledge and experience lectures whilst cooking at home or travelling on the train back from work? There is an app for that. The Great Courses is an excellent free app offering “lectures from expert professors” on topics such as Science, History, Literature, Economics and so much more. You can also pay for other individual courses within the app, and now, education is right at your fingertips. Plus, as Digital Trends’ blogger, Will Nicol states, “your smartphone weighs a lot less than a textbook.”
This is not the only app that we have been gifted in the world of emergent digital technologies; learning languages has now become easier with apps such as Memrise with interactive games and activities available to you 24/7, allowing you to learn any language to your heart’s desire. Struggling with maths? Photomath can solve and explain every math problem to you within minutes. There are also apps such as Udacity, that not only give you access to free online courses, but a platform where you may obtain a verified certification/nanodegree that may not only provide you with the education you may need, but may also be an excellent path to take if you are looking for a job in programming. For more information on current and emergent apps for your tablet, computer or smartphone, click here.
With readily available educational apps being accessible to any user of a smart device, education is now at an all-time high and has evidently been shaped a lot in this digital-era, and will continue being shaped in the future. Despite education being commonly associated with schools and universities, everyone is able to educate themselves on any topic you may think of with the use of digital technologies. As well as this, digital technologies have allowed educational platforms to grow with creativity, and become more fun and interactive compared to the traditional textbook. Education has proved to be more entertaining, as you can learn through different games and activities within these apps, as well as being able to learn wherever you may be in the world, aside from the classroom.
Aside from educational apps emerging now, as well as in the future, we are also educating ourselves on social media, whether that is intentionally or unconsciously. The majority of the U.K. population, especially those with smart devices, commonly use social media apps, and despite the sometimes negative connotation of it being distracting from the real world, it is also a platform that spreads news and awareness quicker than any other platform to date.
People all around the world are able to educate themselves on global current affairs through social media such as Twitter or Facebook, where everyone Is sharing their thoughts and opinions on events through the use of hashtags. These events are not limited to the latest episode of Love Island, or Kim Kardashian breaking the internet, despite the possible social media stereotype; young users have become more interactive with what is considered as important topics such as politics or world disasters going on around us today. No longer is the average newspaper reader the only one aware of such news, it is available to anyone with a digital device, including the 85% of U.K. citizens who are smartphone users.
For example, following the 2017 Election, thousands of millennials took a stand and voted against Theresa May, after being questioned and portrayed as being “snowflakes” and not having much of a say in their country’s politics. Despite the Evening Standard joking with the quote “it’s assumed this generation won’t get out of bed unless there’s a meme involved,” results of the election revealed that 72% of young people voted, compared to the 43% in 2015. This incredible result had shown the significance of social media, with it playing a huge role during the election as it provided the youth of the country a platform to share their political opinions. With such a platform, more young people felt the urge to get involved, and educate themselves, revealing the power of social media on education. For more information, click here.
All in all, emergent digital technologies have provided a platform for education to expand with the help of the internet, and continues to create different resources in which we are able to use and learn with. Just as Gihan Wikramanayake states, “advances in digital technology have opened up many avenues of learning, and technology has made information accessible / transmittable from anywhere and by / to all groups of people.”