EdTech Trends That Disrupt Education in 2020
EdTech stands for educational technology. It is the practice of integrating IT tools into the educational process to create a more engaging and individualized learning experience.
Teacher and student communities have already embraced EdTech products. According to the survey published by Gallup and NewSchools Venture Fund in 2019, 65% of teachers used digital learning tools in their classrooms every day, and 89% of students used digital learning tools at least a few days a week in class. The numbers are expected to be even bigger in 2020, as education has been digitized.
The potential of EdTech has also been recognized by investors. As of January 2020, 14 EdTech companies had a valuation of over 1 billion US dollars, with ByJu (India) being valued at 5.8 billion dollars.
In this article, we’ll talk about the trends in EdTech and the reasons why the industry is popular among investors.
Why Invest in EdTech?
Venture capitalists invest in EdTech for several reasons:
- Wide acceptance. EdTech platforms are created for those who teach and those who want to learn. Basically, every person who has access to the internet is a potential EdTech consumer.
- Untapped opportunities. Lifelong learning is the trend of the 21st century. People are eager to learn and polish their skills but often can’t do so within the traditional educational ecosystem.
- High ROI. EdTech market is already growing exponentially, which indicates profit over investment.
EdTech Industry Trends
Acceleration of online learning in COVID-19 pandemic
According to The World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children globally were out of the classroom since coronavirus breakout. As a result, education has migrated to digital platforms. A new hybrid model of education is expected, with significant benefits. Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Cloud and Vice President of Tencent Education, believes that “the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education.“
Imperial College London has already started offering a course on the science of coronavirus. It is now the most enrolled class launched in 2020 on Coursera. Zhejiang University managed to get more than 5,000 courses online just two weeks into the transition using “DingTalk ZJU.”
Education technology allows us to take control of our learning and have information at our fingertips. It’s an opportunity for people to learn based on their individual learning styles, personal schedules, and educational needs. One of the ways to personalize learning is to use a content creation tool for teachers BookWidgets. Teachers can use a planner to set up a personalized lesson plan for students. There should be obligatory basic tasks and the possibility to add more tasks. Students will choose what additional exercises they want to do.
With on-demand personalized learning, you have 24/7 access to videos from renowned experts and can communicate with fellow learners and tutors online.
Traditional approaches involve role-plays or field trips. Now, the rise of accessible augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are making new opportunities available. VR and AR technologies continue to evolve and help to simulate real-life situations, offering far more value than a traditional classroom setup ever could.
VR is an enclosed experience that fully immerses the user in a computer-generated environment. All the physical surroundings are shut out. You can have a field trip to Mars, visit world museums, take a look inside the human brain. You can even conduct experiments in virtual labs. For example, Labster VR already provides more than 100 types of virtual labs for schools and universities.
AR, in contrast, superimpose digital elements onto real-world objects and backdrops, for example, support textbook materials with AR examples.
Immersive learning involves the use of VR headset, which allows students to experience everything from historical drama to environmental science. AR is more accessible as most students have mobile devices with cameras.
Voice interfaces are another example of immersive education. Generation Z students already use Alexa at home, asking to define a word when doing homework.
One of EdTech future trends is the use of chatbots that deliver lectures via conversational messages. This way, students get more engaged in learning because they are already used to this way of communication. Chatbots will also reduce the workload of human educators.
One of the most exciting and important results of the educational technology boom is that it provides access to all learners, including those with disabilities.
EdTech brings lots of benefits to students with special needs. Here are some of them:
- Electronic worksheets help those with fine motor skill impairment.
- Audio recordings and text-to-speech to assist visually impaired or dyslexic students.
- Video recording can restructure lessons to help students with behavioral or attention issues, for example, with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
- Using one-to-one devices reduces the effect on those with mobility impairments and allow self-pacing.
Source: World Bank
Machine learning (ML) builds algorithms and selects models designed to provide results based on the given data. The algorithms recognize patterns in the data to generate and deliver a more refined output. Machine learning is the foundation of any customizable and learner-centered learning management system (LMS).
ML algorithms are great at tracking students’ performance and understanding where they need more assistance. The algorithms also help educators to cut down course time.
Today, many schools already rely on online assessments that are flexible, interactive, and efficient to deliver. Schools will continue integrating more smart tools. Take a look at some automation examples:
- Face recognition technology to control attendance.
- Autonomous data analysis to automate administrative tasks, such as student registration, shortlisting of candidates, enrolment process, and the certificate generation process. Process automation will drastically bring down the workload for the administrative staff by minimizing all these manual processes. For example, once the students have applied for a stream of study, there’s no need for a staff member to manually check and process the application forms and shortlist the candidate. When pre-defined rules are configured (such as checking eligibility criteria), shortlisting of candidates becomes a faster task.
- Building costs control. Lighting and heating/cooling systems can be automatically controlled, as well as the school security system.
Digital learning materials already range from PDFs and PowerPoint presentations to interactive whiteboard lessons and fully digital courses like on Udemy and Skillshare. Teachers can now create their signature courses with tools like Google Classroom.
A digital curriculum is easy to update and finetune to individual students’ level. It empowers teachers with automatic class tracking, pre-made materials, and simplified classroom management so they can save time and help students learn.
A lot of classrooms already have interactive whiteboards. A step further is a digital whiteboard – a software solution that includes whiteboarding functions like writing, drawing, and annotating. Digital whiteboards have a number of advantages over their physical versions:
- Screen sharing and recording
- Remote input
- Virtually infinite board space
- Multimedia options
- Multi-device integration
The shift to cloud computing has brought benefits to data privacy. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it is mandatory to know how and when data was collected, stored, recorded, transferred, and deleted. It is also obligatory to inform users of the intended use for the data. GDPR also entailed data encryption to reduce security breaches.
For many years, Agente has been working with clients from the educational sector and stays current with EdTech trends. We have created our proprietary Learning Management System to facilitate the creation of custom educational systems for our clients and did a lot of other projects on online education website design and development.
The platform helps to create an online course, corporate learning program or other types of training and education without licensing fees or user limitations.
- Course building tools
- Video integration
- Real-time webinar
- User roles management
- Teacher’s dashboard
- Student dashboard
- Responsive layout
- Messaging system
- Payment integration.
We know how much time and money takes from-scratch LMS development. We offer a ready-made solution that can be customized according to learners’ needs and business goals.
The key advantage of our signature LMS platform is that it’s flexible and allows third-party integrations.
The acceleration of educational technology development is one of the positive things brought by COVID-19 pandemic. Personalized immersive and inclusive education, machine learning, automated schools, digital curriculum, and whiteboard, as well as improved data privacy, are only the beginning of a technological revolution in education. Looking forward to 2021. More to come.
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