Jade Mathieson, Creative Director at local gaming and animation studio Sea Monster, clocks up four ways tech is making education more accessible to everyone regardless of location and economical status.

Technology is not just about social networking and streaming your favourite TV series on your tablet. Sure, these are all great use cases, but do you know there are other cool – albeit serious – ways creative tech is changing the world?

Top universities sharing their lectures free

Google ‘university lectures free’ and see how much quality educational content is available online today. The Khan Academy, which began offering free educational content in 2008, pioneered a trend that has gathered momentum. Today, a host of free content is available online from universities including MIT and Princeton, to Wits and the University of Cape Town. Check edX.org, a great resource page for access to many of these courses.

Serious Games

Serious Games – games created to educate rather than just for entertainment – help teach learners at school level and train adults in business across a number of topics and sectors. The idea behind Serious Games is that people learn better when they’re actively engaged with content, and playing a game provides that immersive engagement. As people learn they can progress up a game’s levels, getting an increasingly nuanced understanding of a concept or subject as they go. This makes Serious Games ideal to teach people everything from maths to cyber-security awareness, and even how to manage their finances.

Access to smartphones and increasingly affordable internet

While the Internet and smartphones are often written off as luxury or entertainment items, they provide access to education, public services, healthcare, social connections and employment opportunities that people in urban areas with more developed economies and infrastructures take for granted. For the marginalised, people in rural areas and the poor, the Internet and smartphones provide access to information, a way to teach themselves skills, opportunities to find jobs and ways to pass on learning to others just like them.

VR training goes mainstream, providing access to digital training

Virtual Reality (VR) is often seen as fun – good for gamers but not much use in the ‘real world’. Yes, it’s great for gaming – but it’s also incredibly useful for learning. VR gives employers a way to put people in any situation imaginable – piloting a plane, escaping a fire, repairing equipment deep underground in a mine – and train them on how to act, react and respond safely. Some 70% of what people learn comes from what they experience, so giving them a way to learn and make mistakes without endangering themselves or others, is critical. For this reason, VR is seeing pick up in the aerospace, defence, chemicals, health care, manufacturing and energy sectors.

In a world in dire need of skills and ongoing training, it may be time to get virtual – and play games with your staff.

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