The 21st century is proving to be an exciting time to be involved with technology and learning. Because of the great steps we’re taking toward educational technology, new windows of opportunities are opening in our class rooms. In the United states, there are six technology disciplines that are emerging in educational institutes. There are many you can get started with right away but others need some time to implement.

1. Cloud Computing

Using web-based tools can enable student-educator collaboration and the biggest advantage of cloud computing is that it saves schools time, resources and money. The best example of this is virtual learning which is now very common all around the world. Many schools also use Google apps for email and document collaboration.

2. Mobile Technology

There has been a massive increase in the number of mobile devices since the emergence of smartphones. You cannot find any student or person for that matter without a mobile gadget in their hand. The devices are comparatively cheaper and they need less infrastructure to support them. Plus, you can simply carry them around in your pocket. For example, photography students from all around the world are now using their smartphones to take pictures rather than carrying portable but baggy gadgets at all times. Plus, having mobile apps for desktop applications have also made things remarkably simple as compared to just a few years ago.

3. Gaming

Game based-based learning scenarios not only enables learning to be fun, but also allows the exploration of identities, experimentation and even failure in a safe environment. A good example of gaming in education is Sheppard Software. Headed by Brad Sheppard, Sheppard Software hosts hundreds of free, online, educational games for kids.

4. Open Content

Open content is perhaps the best thing that has happened to the internet and the sea of information in it. One of the best examples of this is Wikipedia which provides information on any topic you can imagine especially in different areas of education. Textbooks have not been replaced by any means but open content has brought about more complexity in terms of references and further information.

5. Learning Analytics

Data mining, interpretation and modeling using learning-based analytics are now big contributors to improving our understanding of learning and teaching. New APIs, such as TinCan (Experience) API is a major tool that lends itself to the gathering of meaningful, real-time learning analytics that is device agnostic.

6. Personal Learning Environments

A personal learning environment (PLE) is not just a technology, but also an approach/process that is designed with the individual in mind, and therefore different from one learner to another.