Ed-tech has been an integral and revolutionary part in modern education. It however, is not a new addition to university curriculum. This research paper will delve into the history of digital learning environments at UofI and the kind of impact they make on modern education.
University of Illinois has a rich history of Computer Aided Educational environments. There are several aspects that need to be delved into starting from the history of Education technology at the University to the modern day imapact of these learning environments to aid students to study during the COVID pandemic.
Education technology has evolved over the years, the concept of education technology was in fact the initial reason for the creation of a concept of an interconnected network like the internet. Before the internet came into being a research group at the University of Illinois developed a interconnected university network called PLATO.
Education Technology History
PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) originated in the early 1960s as a distributed computer-based learning system at the University of Illinois and was the first generalized computer assisted instruction system. It was developed by a team of many people, initially led by Donald Bitzer. Once PLATO was established, users and developers were able to add more functions. PLATO was a precursor to today’s online world, with a thriving online community which predated today’s social media by decades.
It introduced up many landmark features – Computer-Based Learning, Online Networking, Plasma Flat-Panel Displays, Interactive Touch Screens, etc.
Online Learning Environments
The next major innovation in the ed-tech space after the general networking and internet revolution was with the advent of Online Learning Environments. In 1995, the Web enabled the development of the first learning management systems (LMSs), such as WebCT (which later became Blackboard). LMSs provide an online teaching environment, where content can be loaded and organized, as well as providing ‘spaces’ for learning objectives, student activities, assignment questions, and discussion forums. The first fully online courses (for credit) started to appear in 1995, some using LMSs, others just loading text as PDFs or slides.
DELTA : Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching & Agency
With the increasing popularity of Online Learning Environments, the university soon realised that the possibilities were limitless to modernize education using technology. With this ideology in mind and an intention to keep innovating in the field. The university introduced the DELTA program.
The Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching, & Agency (DELTA) program focuses on the creation and research of digital environments for learning and teaching. This includes technology-enhanced classrooms, mobile devices, and immersive simulations across a range of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, and history.
With a rich history of innovations by the university in the field of Education Technology, there was a big impact in many spheres of education and in the lifestyles of students in general.
a. Data Archives:
i. “an excerpt from the digital archives of a research paper called ‘EXAMINING TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS ON E-LEARNING ACCEPTANCE AND LEARNING TRANSFER’. This article talks in detail about the implication of e-learning and how it has played a role in education at the University. This particular screenshot gives us a lot of information about how technology acceptance in education has increased over time. This data is important in understanding our target size for our research.
Use research papers like these to provide important historical and impact content to support the arguments made in my paper.
Will use data from the Interview to talk about common attitude and beliefs towards the imapact of EdTech platforms in education.
b. Data from Interview:
i. “It would not be the same to be honest, especially during COVID. I cannot imagine us being able to study without these platforms. Having these platforms makes it possible to communicate with the instructors and other students remotely. I don’t think discussions, and other kinds of activities could take place without them.”
Use excerpts from the interview to talk about student opinion on the impact of digital learning environments on the educational experience.
d. Survey Data
Post COVID Impact of Education Technology
The Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing that followed have affected all walks of society, also education. In order to keep education running, educational institutions have had to quickly adapt to the situation. This has resulted in an unprecedented push to online learning. Many, including commercial digital learning platform providers, have rushed to provide their support and ‘solutions’, sometimes for free. The Covid-19 pandemic has therefore also created a sellers’ market in ed-tech.
I will provide scenarios, and data to show how edtech companies have grown exponentially during the Pandemic. And make an informed analysis of what the future of edtech looks like to me based on the current situation and data.
Bring the whole research paper to a well rounded end. Talk about all the final observations and analysis made using all the data presented above. This shall be more detailed once the research paper has been written more in detail.