UNESCO has designated 5 October as a day to celebrate our educators. And while many of us remember using paper and books to learn, increasingly, digital technologies are now available to help teachers educate the next generation of students.
Imagine experiencing an historic moment as it happens, or discovering cellular biology in 3D from inside the body. Innovative technologies, such as virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) can make this possible.
AI and connectivity already bring many benefits to learning. Algorithms can mine and compare data sets from a variety of learning contexts, in order to find which activities give the best learning outcome. These can include learning management systems, interactive learning environments, intelligent tutoring systems and educational games.
In an interview with the IEC, Erlend Øverby, who leads IEC and ISO standardization work in the area of IT for learning, education and training (ITLET), explains how standards can contribute to education.
How is technology affecting the education industry as a whole?
“There needs to be a shift in attitude towards seeing the computer as a tool for solving problems, and not only as a computing machine. This is what needs to be taught in schools, so that if there’s something we don’t understand or if we need more insights, we should know how to find the answers using technology.
Technology in itself does not provide learning, education or training. When things are put in context and managed by a ‘teacher’, then we have education. The use of technology must be put in a context that fulfils the goals of learning, education and training. Technology is nothing alone; it is how we choose to implement it that matters.”
What are the challenges?
“Our main challenge is to get more countries, developed and developing, as well as experts, to participate in our work. All countries with a digital education strategy should take an active role and give their perspectives. Equally, EdTech companies and startups, who plan to have a global presence, should see how their solutions could be easily adopted if IT-specific details are interoperable with other IT systems, for example, to better share data.
Regulators need standards that will contain requirements to put forward to providers of IT programmes for schools, which must ensure the technology is independent of devices and ecosystems and is fully interoperable. This will avoid locking schools into a specific system and allow teachers to choose the best learning experience for its students.”
IEC and ISO international standards for learning, education and training, will help advance the digitization of education, by ensuring soft- and hardware developers provide interoperability and data security, thereby broadening accessibility and enhancing the overall quality of global education.