Digital learning and AI are here to stay, and this is why—
We live in a digital world, and for better or worse, COVID solidified that reality!
Now, this might not be breaking news, but how you should think about it could be, especially if you are in the business of educating people.
Given the growing debate surrounding emerging technologies and how they impact everything from business processes to pedagogy, knowing how to utilize them within every area of our lives is no longer science fiction. Regardless of your stance on the use of technology within education, the truth is that today's world is built on digital platforms. Cars, cash registers (point-of-sale systems now), and almost everything in our homes has a digital interface. I even saw a chicken farmer asking about using GPT automation for his business in an online forum. This is the state of our world. Personally, I'd prefer to actively strategize how we want to shape our digital reality rather than responding reactively like we all did during COVID-19.
Problem-Solving through gamification:
We're conditioned for this. Think about it — survival and satisfaction both trigger the same neurochemical process that influences much of human behavior and motivation. Vegas and marketing departments picked up on it a long time ago. And now that we have more integrated digital solutions than ever, it's time for the rest of us to capitalize on it, too.
Simply put, it's applying game elements and principles (usually digital) in an educational context. It's adding things like point scoring, competition, and the rules of play to enhance student engagement, motivation, and learning. It's meant to trigger that reward center through a positive learning interaction and engagement.
Now, if you're anything like me, you might think, isn't that what we do when playing games in the classroom or using a puzzle worksheet? Yes— but no. Gamification goes beyond learning the subject matter that a game is designed to teach. The goal is to intentionally connect other aspects of learning, like moving static worksheets that cover fractions to having a pizza in front of me and being motivated by hunger, but first needing to figure out how I'll split it equally among my friends. A silly example, but I'm sure you get the point.
For more info on the idea, this interview from NC State College with Professor Emeritus Eric Wiebe talks about introducing game-based learning within STEM classrooms.
Problem-solving through supplemental AI tool:
Have you ever lost track of what someone was saying during a lecture or needed clarification on the content because of a gap in what the presenter tried to explain? This is where emerging tools like GPTs (Generative Pre-training Transformer) supplement the learning experience. As someone with inattentive type ADHD and other learning challenges that I've had to overcome, I can't advocate for this enough!
The current generative artificial intelligence tools have completely transformed how I process information. While exploring programs like ChatGPT, I realized I digest information linearly. If I have any knowledge gaps, my brain stops processing due to the error. With the newer technologies, I can take the information I got hung up on and break it down in a way that I can understand within the context of my domain knowledge. I can then start to conceptualize and use higher levels of thinking to create and innovate.
Its Edtech tools, like Mentis, make the process of filling the knowledge gap more user-friendly. It takes video instructions and allows users to interact with the information by creating content summaries, expanding on data, and even answering user questions within the platform. Students can stay in a single environment, have questions answered immediately, and avoid getting lost down a research rabbit hole.
Of all the STEM solutions, why these?
Tech it like a rug— it ties the room together and just so happens to be my strength.
Technological solutions are some of the most tangible advances within innovation and provide context to a world that wasn't necessarily created for someone who learns like me. When math, science, and engineering are taught separately, I can use my technology background to make connections and apply the concepts in real time. It's the introduction of things like gamification into learning or using tools that can personalize supplemental learning materials that ultimately speak to my passion for creating a world where invisible obstacles and disabilities are generally accounted for within the learning process.
Applied Problem-solving with STEM:
Applying scientific principles, technological innovations, engineering practices, and mathematical analysis to find practical solutions is why I found myself learning technologies. I realized I used parts of these fields of study to create holistic design solutions and that I could take that even further within educational technology. I could create solutions I wished were available at every stage of my life and precisely what I intend to do.