By: Artur Meyster
Technology is paving the way for teachers and students to improve their habits and capitalize on the lessons and skills that have the biggest impact. Although English teachers might disagree, understanding Shakespeare isn't the best way to prepare students for the workforce. Technology helps schools reinforce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education as the key to succeeding professionally.
Through the Internet, students can access educational material way above their grade level. Technology allows students to explore more options and find their true interests instead of being limited by their school's resources. At the same time, teachers are using technology to improve their classrooms and focus on teaching rather than grading and administering tests.
Grading is one of the most difficult parts of any classroom. Teachers need a lot of time to process, grade, and enter grades into the grade book while students want instantaneous feedback. Even the best teachers can't grade essays and projects with the exact same standards. While some get close, only a computer algorithm could grade work without bias and in a completely consistent manner.
Grading programs are growing in high schools and colleges, but the grading programs aren't always receiving high marks. AI grading programs caused a stir when they used a student's historical data as a contributing factor to the student's performance on a standardized test. While typically historical data is good for AI programs, it doesn't fairly judge students on their actual performance on the test they just took. It's akin to betting on the team with the better winning percentage, which doesn't mean much until the teams play the game.
AI grading has a long way to go before it can be a reliable tool for teachers and students. If the programs can be perfected, students and teachers can spend more time working together to fix errors rather than giving or receiving feedback.
Better Test Data Provides a Path for Better Scores
Multiple-choice tests create a generous amount of data for teachers and students to analyze and create action plans to remedy missed questions. A thoughtful teacher can align their questions with standards or lesson objectives to create tests that provide actionable data.
For example, if a math teacher includes trigonometry, algebra, and word problems on a math test, they can use data to determine which areas students understand and which need more work. This data might be observable from a cursory glance, but teachers are drilling down to specific skills. When teachers find the exact skills students are struggling with, they can remedy the mistakes by teaching a follow-up lesson.
Entire school districts can analyze data as well. Data science can help determine the teachers that are producing the best readers based on district-wide tests. This data can be used to create professional development for the teachers whose students didn't perform well.
Homework Help Is More Readily Available Than Ever
Almost every parent has been asked by their child for help on a math problem, and either the parent lost their algebra skills, or they alter how math is taught in schools nowadays. While both may hold some truth, students aren't turning to their parents or siblings for helping anymore—they're asking Google.
If Google doesn't know the answer, it will send students to one of the many sites dedicated to helping students out. Khan Academy and IXL are great tools for learning anything from Calculus to basic arithmetic or the difference between fusion and fission. There are videos galore on YouTube that can answer all the questions a student might have about any possible topic. These resources are helping students spend less time looking for answers and more time applying their learnings.
Tech Is Speeding Up the Learning Process
Technology makes education more accessible to students worldwide and helps them learn at faster rates than ever before. Students can learn skills more quickly because they focus on skills that prepare students for the workforce instead of literature or poetry. The rise of technology is helping students to see the importance of computer engineering. If computer science is known for one thing, it's the fact that some of the richest tech CEOs and founders didn't earn their bachelor's degree.
Students who want to learn computer science are skipping college degrees and jumping straight into coding through coding bootcamps. Bootcamps focus exclusively on specific computer science elements and don't waste time with English or extraneous courses. These direct courses help reduce the cost of education, condense skills into months, and churn out software developers at higher rates than colleges.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
Linkedin: Artur Meyster