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Technological Advancements in Distance Learning

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 12/14/2010

Technology has made a lot of things in society easier to do and get to than ever before. This is definitely true when speaking of education and allowing for those who hadn't been able to go before to go to school online. Distance learning technologies have paved the way for the future of education.

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    The Rise of Technology

    It's well known that the rise of technology has introduced a host of new ways to explore things that may not have been explored before. This is certainly true with education, as emerging technology and blackboard distance learning has taken on a whole new way of learning. Those that had pushed off higher education are now able to return or even start their college education by just having a computer connected to the Internet.

    Technologies such as email, social networking, e-learning, and other tools have brought distance learning to a broader sect of students. In this article, learn how these emerging technologies have helped bring education to those who want it.

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    Technology in Education

    In November of 2010, a new National Education Technology plan was delivered and outlined as part of the State EducationalEmerging Technology and Blackboard Distance Learning  Technology Director's Association. This new plan would apply the technologies that we currently use within our daily business and personal life as part of the educational development for the United States and that of its teachers, educators, and especially the students. This newly minted plan shows that as technology begins to become more of commonplace, it has now found its place within certain aspects of society life, including education.

    This is just one step that brings the advancements of technology closer to education. One important aspect of the Education Technology plan and that of distance learning and e-learning is the implementation of broadband networks, which for many rural areas is a much needed component. In order to attend online sessions, a student must have an adequate Internet connection and for some students, this cannot be. Earlier in 2010, the FCC released a plan that would hopefully bring faster connection speeds to areas which lack it.

    Studies have shown that distance learning and that of E-learning is rapidly becoming commonplace as busy professionals and parents try to find the time to finish schooling or go back to school. Many institutions that were commonly just brick and mortar schools are now implementing procedures to add online courses to their degree programs. While students learn how to navigate on the web, teachers are also getting help in utilizing software that facilitates coursework, discussions, and more.

    Concourse, for example, is a free online software program that helps to share syllabi between teachers and students. Teachers will of course need to know and be familiar with VLEs or virtual learning environments, programs and software that allow instructors to set up online classrooms, daily assignments and calendars.

    Some online courses offer the ability for students to utilize E-book technology, which is having an online version of a textbook so that every student has access to the chosen material. These books usually have a downloadable link within Abode Reader so that students cannot only read online, but download the material to their computers for later reading or printing so that they have an actual textbook for further study.

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    Social Media and Smart Phones

    Social networking and chat rooms can also be a part of an online classroom environment. It is fairly common that weekly discussions between students and the instructor can take place either within a discussion board or forum or that of a weekly chat that is hosted by the school's online website. Social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are also being utilized for students to speak with faculty of the school or even comment to other students or perspective students.

    Also, as smart phones begin to become more prominent for more than just the power business user, applications such as Microsoft Office and Astrid are making it easier for students to plan their schedules and some online schools are even offering mobile versions of their site so students can log in from their phone.

    These emerging technologies are only the tip of the iceberg of what we could expect in the years to come. The ability to attend classes while in another state or country was a huge step and who knows how far we can go.

    Image content @ MorgueFile