Technology evolves to transform learning

Looking back over the year since January 2021, since Techniques and ACTE staff met to plan this and the other issues in our 2021–22 editorial calendar, I hope you’ll take a moment to notice how far we have come. You are truly remarkable. Career and technical education (CTE) faculty and students have, time and time again, demonstrated the capacity to adjust, adapt and evolve. As the rate of technological change has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, educators have learned to navigate new intersections of technology, education and the workforce.

Technology evolves.

January Techniques: Technology Evolves graphic, blue and pink abstract circular design — a digital multiverse

Change the way students learn.

The adoption of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) in education is transforming how we learn. AR allows us to project digital content into the real world and, used together with VR, students experience immersive simulations. AI offers a range of uses — on its own or supporting AR and VR. The technology provides immediate feedback and can individualize learning.

Take a chance on these technologies; you may see increased engagement as students begin to interact with what they’re learning on a more personal level. AR/VR and AI can also help students who may struggle with comprehension. Technology empowers students by giving them more agency over the learning process.

Enhance student success with tech.

Twenty-first century educators know that content is best delivered in chunks. And students retain information better when they control the pace of their learning. What if we could combine an on-demand approach to learning with content that sparks learners’ individual motivation to relate and make meaning?

That system exists! From NOCTI, micro-credentialing programs provide relevant, bite-sized learning activities that CTE students may complete on their smartphones, in the classroom or on the job site, 24/7. They offer students the opportunity to earn recognition for their knowledge and skills and track their progress through a CTE program of study. Further, educators and employers can use micro-credentials to gauge understanding and technical competence.

Flip your CTE classroom.

As technology evolves, students become increasingly familiar with technology and digital resources. Students can access a wealth of knowledge at the touch of any device. And learning occurs at any time, on demand. As a result, traditional lecture delivery models are not sufficient to capture and stimulate the minds of younger generational students.

Consider how interactive methods of teaching can better engage and motivate learners. A flipped classroom (FC) requires students to conduct most of the content-based learning prior to the classroom session. This approach allows students to collaborate and learn from their peers. And to refine knowledge and skills with the expert guidance of the instructor.

Dental students practice on patients in their dental chairs.

Meet ACTE’s new IAED coordinator.

Amanda Bastoni, educational research scientist at CAST, joined the ACTE team as our new inclusion, access, equity and diversity (IAED) coordinator. In this volunteer role, she will oversee IAED program activities and help facilitate the professional development of leaders who seek to build stronger CTE programs of study for all learners.

“CTE classrooms are filled with authentic, relevant learning experiences that connect directly to future careers and goals,” said Bastoni. “And my favorite part of my job is working with CTE teachers to redesign lessons and think creatively about teaching. Right now, I’m also very interested in removing barriers and increasing access to high-wage, high-demand CTE pathways for rural populations.”

Amanda Bastoni is ACTE's new IAED coordinator

Read Techniques: Technology evolves.