The 4IR is time for great change for society as well as the economy. So, what is the fourth industrial revolution and what is its relationship with technological advancements in education?
4IR is described as ‘the fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres’ by Klaus Schwab (2019). In layman’s terms, the 4IR refers to how technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way modern society works.
Before the covid pandemic, we did not realize the intensity in which we rely on 21st-century technologies—such as social media and digital learning platforms. The unanticipated situation has simultaneously driven humans to become far more reliant on breakthrough digital technologies and has forced innovation in industries that have become stagnant over time, easily demonstrated in how emerging technologies have been utilized to create value in the education system.
One of the most significant ways that education is benefiting from this revolution is in the way students can access and use information. Instead of being bound by the physical limitations of a single classroom, students can now access information from anywhere in the world. This gives them more options as to where and how they learn and the ability to advance their knowledge.
The 4IR has introduced a new way of learning. For example, many schools are now using virtual learning classrooms or educational apps which allow students to access resources from wherever they are, and it is becoming increasingly more common for high schools to require their students to carry out their research or homework online. Virtual technology enables learners to interact with teachers outside school hours to take the strain off teachers
Extensive research was conducted by a leading South African Ed-tech company called SOCO_ED about the study habits of students and discovered that most modern-day students prefer to receive content in short, bite-sized pieces. With a focus on combining pedagogical principles and technological integration, SOCO-ED launched a user friendly platform called SU Advantage which manages and coordinates available classroom materials and educational resources into bite sized education to facilitate remote learning and assist learners through the foundations of their schooling career.
With this exposure to various forms of technology during school-going years and the usage of applications such as SU Advantage, students may enhance their accomplishments in the 4IR and their abilities to succeed in the future workplace.