Digital education has become a popular topic of discussion around the world. Technology itself continues to advance, creating increasingly greater possibilities that excite and inspire people from all walks of life. The information available at our fingertips through technology, and the ability to connect and communicate with people instantly, has changed how people approach business and education in many ways.
Students will be entering a world where technology is used widely, impacting how they do their jobs and excel in the workforce. They require training during their education to thrive in this area, hence the need for the teaching establishment to be in step with the technological advancements.
When considering the value of technology and the digital revolution in education, one must think not only of the convenience it offers but also of times when it becomes necessary. When COVID-19 struck, it forced many schools around the world to close. To help students remain engaged with their education, these schools had to turn to digital capabilities. This accelerated the adoption and growth of digital education in the school environment.
In the face of the growing importance and demands of digital incorporation into the classroom and examination process, Switzerland continues to be a leader in education and a model of digital adoption.
Background on Swiss education
The Swiss education model is one of the highest-ranked education systems in the world. Students finishing their education in this country enter the workforce well-prepared, with an education that provides them with the insightful, knowledgeable backgrounds they need to thrive. It is no wonder that multinational technology companies, like Google, have chosen locations in Switzerland as they seek to build additional bases. Google knows that the local population is highly innovative and well-educated.
As a nation, Switzerland has four official languages. It is a diverse place with a number of different cultures thriving together. The country works to ensure that the educational needs of students in all areas of the country are met. Thus, it has 26 ministers of education. Each minister manages a particular Swiss canton. Each language region also generally coordinates to a degree on curricula to ensure that all students receive a quality educational experience.
Schools in Switzerland include excellent opportunities for vocational education and training, as well as baccalaureate schools, with a view to creating paths that nurture a variety of different interests and skill-sets. This includes incorporating digital knowledge and computer science into the school curriculum in order to prepare students for their future as digital citizens.
How technology can be used in education?
Technology in education can be incorporated in a variety of different ways, allowing for better access to learning, improving the learning experience and providing students with a set of skills that will help them throughout their own future careers.
Combining the potential of technology with education, schools create new opportunities for teaching, learning and assessing and therefore create a dynamic learning environment for teachers and students.
Technology can be used to deliver information to students in a more interactive and interesting way, which makes learning more engaging for all learners in a classroom.
Technology can also help reinvent education. This is delivered with new educational concepts such as blended learning and flipped learning.
In today's world, professionals are required to solve new problems, work in interdependent teams and use different modes of communication. Modern education must be focused on teaching those skills.
Technology can help with the following aspects of learning: teamwork, communication, creation of content, critical thinking, and real-world involvement.
Allowing students to learn virtually
Virtual education can benefit students in a variety of different situations. It opens learning opportunities for those who might have trouble attending school for a variety of different reasons, such as illness or geographic locations. Students would no longer have to be limited in their educational options by what is immediately around them.
Improving information accessibility for students
Students who might have struggled with learning in the past can now turn to technology to help them overcome barriers and challenges. For example, text-to-speech capabilities can increase access to information for students who may have writing difficulties in the past.
Similarly, technology can improve the abilities of teachers to meet each student based on their personal learning needs. Lessons, information and even assessments can be tailored to suit the learning styles of students, making the information more accessible for students and increasing their retention. When students feel empowered and confident in their learning, they can retain more and feel more capable in the classroom, as well as later in their professional careers.
Keep classes connected and learning from anywhere
Learning does not have to stop at the classroom door. With the help of technology such as the cloud, students and teachers can remain connected. Study groups, group projects, tutoring sessions and a virtual classroom that allows students to continue to learn and engage with the material after they leave class can help students get more from their lessons.
Access to information and opportunities previously not possible
Thanks to technology, students also have access to opportunities that might not have otherwise been available. Virtual tours of museums that let them see famous artifacts and paintings as though they were standing in front of them, virtual reality simulations that allow them to practice skills, even apps that allow for demonstrations of different concepts that are hard to replicate in the classroom can now become possible. This hands-on learning approach helps students understand and digest the information, and move forward with confidence.
Allow students to learn how the technology itself works
With technology becoming such a dominant part of the working world, including education, technology related skills are set to become a more critical requirement for a thriving career.
Technology in the classroom allows students to move beyond learning how to use technology - such as clicking on apps or turning on machines - and helps them start to understand how the technology itself works. Opportunities to learn the basics of coding and programming, understanding how apps are constructed and how businesses can use technology to grow can also be learned in schools. This prepares students for the technology-focused future and matriculates professionals ready to thrive in the digital world.
The importance of digital education
Digital education is becoming increasingly important as society as a whole begins to seize the opportunities that technology presents. Students who have had the necessary education and training will be:
- More prepared for the future. Their jobs will likely use technology to varying degrees, so students who have experience in this area will feel more comfortable with this technology and innovations. They will also be prepared to use the technology available to them to its fullest extent, making them efficient and productive employees.
- Equipped to be at the forefront of the economy. As technology becomes commonplace, Switzerland as a whole will want to make sure that the population of educated employees they produce are ready to compete on an international scale. With other countries incorporating digital education, the nation must continue to prioritize its high educational standards and incorporate digital education. This ensures Switzerland will continue to have its highly educated population that attracts innovators and technology leaders.
- Capable of understanding how technology works. Although using many aspects of modern technology can be described as intuitive, such as following the instructions on an app - understanding how the technology itself works is more complicated and requires a better understanding of computer science. Providing a quality digital education will begin the process of educating students in these critical ways so that they are ready to be innovators and creators in the technology space.
The Swiss education system at the forefront of the digital education trends
The Swiss education system continues to show its position as a leader on an international scale when it comes to digital education. Leaders in the country have continued to look for ways to incorporate digital education in meaningful ways in the classroom. This includes finding ways to correct common mistakes that have been seen elsewhere.
Incorporating teacher training
One major mistake that has been made in other localities in an attempt to incorporate technology in the classroom has been the lack of teacher training. Teachers and students might have the technology at their fingertips, but without training in how to make these new abilities meaningful parts of their classroom, the ability to incorporate these abilities into the learning environment is limited.
Switzerland works to counter this error in many of their efforts to bring technology to the classroom. A partnership with Samsung, for example, to bring technology options to the classroom specifically includes education opportunities for teachers. This makes the ability to incorporate technology into the classroom more effective. There are other collaboration with both Google, and also Apple for the use of technology in the classroom at various levels of education.
Providing technology holistically
Those who work to bring digital education to Swiss students also want to help incorporate these abilities on a holistic level. Rather than making computer and technology a completely separate concept, they work to incorporate many of the ideas of digital education throughout the coursework. Students can see the benefits of digital learning across their different subjects and gain a better understanding of the many different uses of these technological innovations.
Adjusting teaching strategies so that teachers facilitate learning
Swiss classrooms are also working to adjust teaching strategies so that they better reflect our modern reality. With students having a wealth of information at their fingertips, teachers play a better role when they act more as a facilitator than a lecturer. Quality teachers not only instruct students on the topic at hand, but they also empower students to find information for themselves, teaching them how to use the variety of resources available online so that they can then analyze and incorporate this information for themselves. With this type of instruction, students can take the digital education skills they learn in the classroom with them through the rest of their schooling and into the professional world. They will be equipped to adapt and utilize new technology as it becomes available.
Across Switzerland, teachers and schools as a whole continue to look for ways to demonstrate their educational leadership in the world of digital education. That explains why, when the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close across the country, nearly two-thirds of parents reported that they saw the Swiss education system well-prepared for distance learning and able to easily adapt to the demands of these modern challenges. The nation’s previous incorporation of technology in the classroom, and an understanding of how to effectively use these ideas to teach and educate students, empowered the education system to continue providing children with a quality learning environment.
EHL and digital education
As the world struggles to manage the transition to digital learning that has come with health crisis, at EHL, we have embraced the nature of Swiss leadership in education, including the adoption of remote and digital education. We see that technology has tremendous potential for students, including the opportunity to maintain virtual learning, increase accessibility for students and create learning opportunities that were not otherwise possible.
To help our students continue with their education while still protecting our students and staff, we have adopted distance learning across many of our programs. We continue to adapt our distance learning plans based on the needs of the school and students, taking advantage of our capabilities to ensure that everyone remains on track with the same highly-regarded curriculum whether they are online or in person.
Even outside the distance learning needed to combat COVID-19, we offer degree options that incorporate many online classes throughout the program. We embrace the potential for digital education as a part of a rigorous hospitality education, and our students graduate feeling confident in their abilities to manage the digital revolution in addition to hospitality and management skills.
Digital education has continued to make inroads as an important part of modern education for students of all ages. Switzerland continues to shine as a leader in education, incorporating the potential for this technology into their educational paradigms across the country. Here at EHL, we also embrace the potential for technology. Our students know that we use it to enhance their educational experience throughout our intensive and elite hospitality degree programs.