Is EdTech shaping the future of education and learning?
The concept of ‘classroom education’ has radically shifted in recent times. The education industry is in a season of change as the focus shifts from simply memorising large amounts of information to analysing, learning, and grasping concepts. It’s no longer about what we teach at school but rather how we teach at school.
And this is where educational technology has gained significant momentum. Though EdTech has been around for at least the last decade or two, it wasn’t until recently that it evolved in a meaningful way.
When the EdTech industry was established, it served a fairly straightforward function — to provide learners with access to engaging multimedia educational content. However, over the last five years, the e-learning industry has been offering students an entirely interactive experience — live classes, cloud access, online labs, projects, and even online assessments. But what’s in store for the future of education? Will EdTech overtake traditional learning? Let’s explore…
EdTech: The future of education
Experts in the education and learning sector believe that EdTech is only set to grow. They maintain that over the next decade, businesses will leverage technology to create highly personalised learning experiences, make education accessible to everyone, and scale the sector in unimaginable ways.
One of the major disadvantages of traditional classroom education is that the median student often determines the pace of the class. And so, while some people struggle to catch up, others who are ahead of the curve are simply bored and disinterested. EdTech will eliminate this drawback and go into areas where traditional education cannot, through personalised classes, interactive tools, and engaging multimedia.
Why educational technology surpasses conventional learning
1. Provides 24/7 learning access
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools and universities across the globe shut down. And in many cases, it was EdTech that came to the rescue. Technology and IoT devices have made it possible for students to access learning material without having to be physically present in the classroom. Not only does this ensure that they continue to learn every day, but it also makes it convenient for them to do it at their own pace — from anywhere, at any time.
2. Creates personalised experiences
Gone are the days when education technology was all about a few colourful videos and charts. Today, the future of education is about creating a personalised experience for students by building a tailored learning program based on their strengths, skills, and interests — something that you cannot accomplish with traditional classroom teaching.
3. Streamlines education
Today, EdTech applications not only help students learn better, but they also streamline communication between students, parents, and teachers. For instance, consider the popular school-to-home communication application ParentSquare. The virtual assistant helps school administrators, teachers, and support-staff set reminders for assignments and exams, helping students stay on top of preparations and submissions. ParentSquare also provides important metrics on student engagement to increase academic achievement through parental involvement.
EdTech trends to look out for
1. Interactive learning
Using the right digital tools, educational institutions can take learning to the next level by creating a one-of-a-kind interactive experience. Through virtual reality, simulation programs, gamification, and instruction-based learning, students can develop real-life skills like problem-solving, decision-making, and analytical thinking. Further, because technologies like Virtual Reality makes learning more memorable, the cognitive and psychomotor skills of the student are also enhanced.
The future of education will see many teachers and support staff across the globe implement interactive learning to measure students’ overall aptitude, in turn, allowing them to fairly evaluate their performance. And this makes it easier for them to customise and personalise training programs.
2. Learning that goes beyond academic knowledge
Apart from academia, there are many other skills that grab the attention of a student. For instance, music, art, or even acting. And so, in the near future, EdTech applications will find ways to help students pursue their passions online.
One such example is CreatorUp — a company that educates its users on creating and marketing their content, helping them make their career in the entertainment industry.
3. Assessments using AI
While the traditional teaching model provides students with nothing but test scores and attendance percentages, EdTech can give so much more. For starters, using Artificial Intelligence, an education technology application, can provide information such as a student’s reading efficiency, the time taken to analyse and answer a question, and how quickly they can grasp a concept.
Over time, the app then auto-generates reports that compare their progress, allowing them to access the insights that they need to improve their performance. At the end of the day, EdTech apps hope to make the future of education more than just a one-sided conversation.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of EdTech?
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the e-learning industry was already growing at an exponential rate. However, with many Governments announcing that education is not an ‘essential activity’, schools and colleges had no choice but to opt for e-learning, leading to a growth spurt in education technology like never before.
And so, a robust digital education framework will be a crucial part of the future of education. In fact, one trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the growing partnerships between non-educational players and EdTech companies. For instance, Orange Business Services (a global integrator of communications products and services) in Africa partnered with OpenClassrooms (an e-learning platform) to boost educational development and job creation in the continent. Today, the program serves over 16 countries, 820 schools, and 200,000 students.
EdTech is here to stay. Will it replace schools? Probably not. Think of EdTech as an OTT platform and schools as movie theatres. Will people stop going to the movies entirely because they can access shows and movies on their phones? No. But will the number of times you visit a movie theatre fall in the next couple of years? In all probability, the answer is yes. And that’s what the future of education looks like too.
From conventional classroom teaching to digital-age EdTech learning, the education sector has grown leaps and bounds. However, this is not the end. Aided by technologies like Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and interactive mobile applications, there is still immense potential for growth in the education technology industry. And businesses across the globe are just getting started.