Extending Education Beyond the Classroom

September 15, 2015

10:00 am

In the 20th century and before, personalized tutors were sometimes relied on to help students who were falling behind their peers. Parents were expected to invest large sums of money when the educational system failed their children – often dropping them off at Sylvan Learning centers or other on-site tutoring locations. Students would take hours of tests for the initial assessment, and then many more exams and tests to gauge whether or not they were learning the basic concepts that they never mastered in the classroom.

Today, the scope of learning has greatly expanded to enable education beyond the classroom thanks to new communication technologies. Students can now connect with educational resources, and interact with them in a myriad of ways, using technologies such as the interactive whiteboard featured in the Boost Academy app. Today’s digital learners require much more than black and white information out of a textbook. Instead, they want to be immersed in the world around them and develop skills that they feel are relevant and will prepare them for the workplace. Tutors may use some of the following technological advances that have been tested at universities and other academic locations, neuroscience departments, and robotics labs:

Alelo Tools

With the world being more connected than ever before, it is crucially important to learn a foreign language in order to make necessary business and professional contacts. However, it is also wise gain an understanding of the cultural expectations that surround business dealings. Alelo is a company that has developed tools that help to harness cultural awareness by having users engage in virtual role-play activities. After the student completes a specific action, the “agent” responds in a culturally accurate manner. This process assists in reinforcing communication skills as well as a more developed understanding of cultural influences. The tool has also been implemented in multiple English as a second language programs in the United States as an effective means of learning language and etiquette expectations.

WallScopes

Today’s students do not have to be attached to a book to learn. In fact, they are more likely to learn when they are fully engaged through a variety of mediums. Virtual tools exist that can replicate natural events or patterns – like earthquakes, virtual fauna, and animal foraging behaviors. These tools help make scientific processes more tangible than ever before.

CODAP

This is a tool that allows students to combine raw data and technology to develop a more concrete understanding of the scientific process. For example, a student may complete an experiment in the classroom that generates raw data. The student may then add this data to CODAP, which simulates the coordinating actions of actors in order to help make scientific predictions. This can help students learn about how molecules interact with each other, how the economy changes based on certain factors, and how the immune system works.

Virtual Worlds

Virtual and augmented reality can truly alter the way that students see the world around them. Students can get a new perspective on outer space, history, or anthropology. They can also learn about ecosystems and collect information as part of interesting projects that also teach economic responsibility. Tutors can help expand these projects so that multiple pupils collaborate by delivering a final project or by engaging in a small conference in which they share their findings.

Tutoring has taken on a whole new dimension of performance and effectiveness by incorporating the latest in virtual tools and processes. Students are no longer tied to the textbook – in fact, the best tutors today choose to embrace technology to create more effective and valuable learning environments.

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This article was contributed by Chris Beck who is a Content Producer/contributor and also a well published freelance writer in the insurance and tech space. Originally from Asheville, NC and a University of South Carolina Alum. I am also an avid Gamecock sports follower... I have a family of four including a twin brother, 6 if you include our Fox Hound and German Shepard.

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