Examining EdTech Through Different Industry Verticals

The modern classroom has always thrived on being a transformative place, and a lot of this has been made possible with technology. Educational experiences used to be built with pens, chalkboards, and projectors, and these still hold a lot of importance in the classroom. Despite this, the technology that is utilized the most in education has become a lot more software oriented.

It’s true, in the past decades Educational Software, commonly referred to as EdTech has transformed how students learn, streamlining educational experiences in new ways everyday. From grade-schoolers to college freshmen, Edtech is highly relevant across all education levels. 

In recent years though, different education platforms have allowed learning to transcend a traditional classroom-based learning environment, allowing for more flexible ways to learn. EdTech has become a huge sector in tech, and you can easily break it down into different categories. Let’s take a look at some different places you can find EdTech, and examine some market leaders within these categories. 

 

Children's Education

Teaching kids can be tough. Attention spans vary, and traditional learning methods are less effective in our highly technology-driven world. Luckily, a lot of innovators in the EdTech space have created more interactive ways to engage children, and make learning more fun. These often come in the form of games, or highly visual learning software. Whether it's digitizing your children's learning experience with educational apps, or using multimedia tools, there are seemingly limitless ways to engage the "always-on" generation. Recently, there has been an active push to make complicated topics like engineering or software programming more approachable for children, different EdTech companies and projects are making this a lot easier.

Children’s Education EdTech Spotlight: Scratch

From the genius minds of MIT came this introductory fully-visual programming language, designed to help young children grasp the fundamentals of programming. Scratch allows kids to drag-and-drop different programming 'blocks' to create different types of modules, games, and useful software. Take a look through some of the creations on their website, some really cool stuff has been made all in Scratch.

 Using this language, kids can get a deeper understanding of how to create computer software. This is incredibly important for children to understand at a young age in a modern context. With the tech industry growing at such high-velocity, there's no doubt technical skills are useful for kids to pick up early. Scratch can help introduce children to other, more advanced programming languages like Python. It's safe to say, Scratch is paving the way for an educational landscape that makes coding accessible to kids of all ages. 

 

University Education

University education has become increasingly connected and streamlined, mostly by using various forms of education software. Whether it's online learning software that makes physical-classrooms a thing of the past, or digital tests that are used to evaluate students, it's clear higher-learning is changing rapidly.

 More and more instructors are utilizing digital mediums like Youtube videos to teach relevant content, which in-turn makes learning more dynamic and interactive. A lot of software companies are looking to capitalize on new innovative ways to deliver course content and make evaluation easier. Student engagement is paramount for instructors to properly teach content, and there are some great new software platforms that are designed to increase this. 

University Education EdTech Spotlight: Top Hat 

Leveraging the power of the fact that virtually every student has a smartphone in their pocket, Top Hat delivers a powerful solution for engaging students using their smart devices. Educators have the ability to administer tests through student's phones during lectures using Top Hat, allowing students to compare results mid-lecture and increase engagement with the course material.

The company also offers solutions for tracking attendance and administering take-home assignments, all using student's phones. This approach to using devices that oftentimes distract students to engage is brilliant and has a lot of potential for further uses. Though not exclusively used in universities, Top Hat has found a lot of success in higher education settings and continues to be a well-known name for college professors. 

 

Online Courses 

The way we learn, and how we value knowledge has been disrupted by the internet. What used to require taking courses in-person, or taking books out from the library has now been simplified. Knowledge can now be obtained easily through online course platforms, allowing learners to craft their own educational experience and learn new topics and skills that interest them. Whether you want to brush up on existing skills or learn brand new ones, there's probably an online course platform that suits your needs. 

A lot of these online courses can even be used to spruce up your resume or LinkedIn profile. That's right, online course platforms make professional career advancement a lot easier, allowing you to get an upper-advantage in your job search. A few new companies have emerged recently that are looking to shake-up the online course landscape that is already firmly established. Through different approaches to presenting content, to changing who can teach courses, this category of EdTech is changing rapidly. 

Online Courses Edtech Spotlight: Coursera

Tackling the Online Course market head-on, Coursera takes an all-inclusive approach. By providing courses taught by highly-qualified instructors, and even offering full comprehensive degrees, this platform makes it easy to learn in a variety of ways. A higher-learning education is much more accessible using a platform like Coursera as it approaches it's course content and evaluation in a simplified way, perfect for the digital medium it is presented in. Coursera even offers a 'For Business' section, completely dedicated to professional skill-building. 

Coursera promises accessible pricing for courses taught by instructors from top universities and companies like Standford, IBM, and Google. They deliver on this promise from all angles, as user-feedback is great all-around for this Edtech platform. The already massive catalog of courses is constantly growing with more interesting topics and notable instructors.

 

Looking Forward

It’s hard to predict where EdTech is going from here, so much innovation has occurred in this space and there’s so much potential for me. In the coming years it will be interesting to observe how technology transforms education further. I’m looking forward to seeing how technology can continue to make education more accessible to developing nations, and how individuals can share their knowledge in intuitive ways further. Let’s hope education continues to pave the way for a brighter future.

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Jake Oulahen

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I write about all things tech, up-and-coming startups, and shifting industry

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The modern classroom has always thrived on being a transformative place, and a lot of this has been made possible with technology. Educational experiences used to be built with pens, chalkboards, and projectors, and these still hold a lot of importance in the classroom. Despite this, the technology that is utilized the most in education has become a lot more software oriented. It’s true, in the past decades Educational Software, commonly referred to as EdTech has transformed how students learn, streamlining educational experiences in new ways everyday. From grade-schoolers to college freshmen, Edtech is highly relevant across all education levels.