What Is EdTech? 5 Tech Trends That Will Transform Education
What is EdTech? Technology is infiltrating education via EdTech. But this is a good thing.
Technology has changed the ways humans navigate the world. From waking up to a smartphone alarm to feeding your pet with a digital feeder, technology is to blame.
Within the next seven years, EdTech will show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3%, roughly tripling the market in size to over 200 billion by 2027. This market growth can be credited to a new recognition in the advantages of EdTech – especially due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
That being the case, what is EdTech and what technologies will shape its influence? Continue reading to learn more!
What Is EdTech?
EdTech (or e-learning) is when computer hardware and/or software are integrated into the educational sector to facilitate learning. This is an expansive definition that can span the range of Zoom classes to mobile apps for learning languages.
In the classroom, EdTech can look like interactive projection screens, whiteboards, digital note-taking tablets, and student response systems. There are more examples, of course, but these are just a few to give you an idea of how EdTech works.
Other websites like IXL or FunBrain have a more direct relation to learning models as students learn new information. There are even software applications like Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Kahoot that are used for similar purposes.
Many of these resources utilize educational theory in their development to make sure students are learning information in a proactive way. Technology should be geared towards helping students absorb the knowledge being presented to them.
As time moves forward, the internet will become faster and more accessible, with fewer disruptions. Edtech will continue to advance as smart devices dominate the virtual landscape.
5 Tech Trends That Will Transform Education
More and more technologies are finding their place in the classroom. Technology is modernizing how learning happens and ultimately reshaping the fundamentals of education.
The increasing presence of technology in education isn’t limited to traditional schoolhouses and universities. EdTech has created access to education for groups of all ages independent of location.
As technology advances and educational/learning models evolve, new and exciting opportunities will continue to offer limitless possibilities to students.
1. AR / VR / MR
Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) have already positively impacted a number of different industries such as healthcare and entertainment.
The use of these tools means access to visual information and the opportunity to practice learned material in a simulated environment. These exercises allow students to apply cultivated knowledge in real-time.
AR, VR, and MR have promising potential to enhance learning capabilities. These technologies can fill in gaps that traditional textbooks are not always able to provide.
2. Adaptive Learning
A traditional learning model is designed around the idea that all students learn at the same pace and should focus on the same kind of information.
However, the educational system needs to adapt to the students’ needs, not the other way around.
Data science and artificial intelligence make adaptive learning possible by adapting the materials as it is presented based on the student’s performance.
Altering the information and its delivery not only improves general performance for students but also helps them focus on their talents.
3. Redesigned Learning Spaces
Transformation in the educational environment should center a personalized experience that creates boundless opportunities for learning.
From putting smart devices like smart boards and smart desks into classrooms to redesigning universities to informal learning campus spaces, these changes facilitate collaboration and cooperation that will mirror future workplaces.
Games have a lot of potential in engaging students. They encourage healthy competition and improve performance while providing anchoring content that is relevant beyond the classroom.
With technology’s modern evolution, you can now find games in every educational discipline. By reflecting real-life situations, games can educate students and maintain a higher level of engagement than in a traditional education model.
Games offer instant feedback that makes students want to continue using them and advancing their skills.
5. Learning From Anywhere
Access to learning opportunities is still a big social concern. With emerging technology, it’s become significantly easier to study from anywhere.
Students are now able to connect with their teachers through virtual conferences and adult learners can access a variety of courses online.
Examining EdTech Through Different Industry Verticals
The modern classroom has always thrived on being a transformative place. A lot of this has been made possible with technology. Educational experiences used to be built with pens, chalkboards, and projectors.
These still hold a lot of importance in the classroom. But the tools that are utilized most in education have become a lot more software-oriented. In the past couple of decades, educational software has transformed how students learn.
In recent years, different education platforms have allowed learning to transcend past a traditional classroom-based learning environment, allowing for more flexible ways to learn.
Here’s a look at the different environments in which you can find EdTech in practice.
Teaching kids can be tough. Attention spans vary, and traditional learning methods are less effective in a 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. You can digitize your children's learning experience in numerous ways, like using educational apps or multimedia tools.
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 like Scratch are making this a lot easier.
Higher-learning is changing rapidly. You’ve no doubt seen the likes of online learning software that makes physical classrooms a thing of the past or digital tests that are used to evaluate students.
Student engagement is paramount for instructors to properly teach content, and there are some great new software platforms such as Top Hat that are designed to increase this.
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.
Learners can craft their own educational experiences 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. And you can leverage these courses in your job search.
A few companies, namely Coursera and Khan Academy, have been widely established as reliable online learning spaces.
4 Examples of Successful EdTech Companies
As mentioned earlier, some EdTech companies in particular have already reached substantial notoriety. Take a look at what’s making the news in EdTech.
From the genius minds of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came Scratch. Scratch is an introductory 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.
The imagery of block code leads young students to a deeper understanding of how to create computer software. This is incredibly important for children growing up in the modern world..
With the tech industry growing at such high velocity, technical skills are useful for kids to pick up early. Scratch can be a gateway to more advanced programming languages like Python.
It's safe to say that Scratch is paving the way for an educational landscape that makes coding accessible to kids of all ages.
2. Top Hat
Keeping in mind 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 students’ phones during lectures using Top Hat, permitting 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. This approach to using devices that oftentimes distract students to engage is brilliant and shows a lot of potential for further use.
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.
Tackling the online course market head-on, Coursera takes an all-inclusive approach. By providing courses taught by highly-qualified instructors and even offering certifications for completed coursework, Coursera aims to make education more attainable.
The platform reimagines course content and evaluation in a simplified way that functions well with the digital medium. They even offer 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 Stanford, IBM, and Google. They deliver on this promise from every angle, as user feedback is great all-around for this EdTech platform.
4. Everyday Speech
SLP provides a simple and easy interface to access content from Everyday Speech, which includes activities, videos, games, and other therapy tools.
The Everyday Speech platform allows professionals to work with students with special needs through videos that “focus on the areas where kids with disabilities have difficulties.” These videos might involve lessons on social skills and communication.
How To Hire Developers for EdTech Projects
E-learning tools are still in the dark ages and tend to follow the old “Click to Continue” patterns. A good developer will be able to help you find ways to innovate and push things forward, not just give you what you want.
There are a few advantages to hiring an e-learning developer who is especially familiar with edtech. Here’s what to look for.
Characteristics of an EdTech Developer
There are many characteristics that separate an e-learning developer from their full-stack counterparts.
While full-stack developers tend to be generalists with a slight lean towards front-end or back-end development, e-learning developers have a deeper knowledge when it comes to what makes e-learning software effective.
This knowledge extends beyond software development and into child and/or adult learning, educational psychology, education, storyboarding, and design.
Beyond deep institutional knowledge, an EdTech developer will also be passionate about testing, evaluating, and maintaining their products as well as researching what other products are doing in order to build better products.
Some edtech developers may even have experience using authoring tools such as Lectora, Storyline, Rise, Captivate, Camtasia, or Vyond to develop interactive multimedia learning modules for your organization.
Specialized Insights and UX Expertise
This is an underrated skill when it comes to assessing a developer’s ability to contribute to the growth of your product.
Would you rather have a developer that just does what you tell them to do without asking questions or one that is able to put your ideas to the fire and offer up their own insights?
Imagine you wanted to implement a course navigation feature that allows users to see where they are in the course and navigate to a different course topic.
There are so many ways to go about developing this feature, but only a few ways in which a user would prefer to interact with it. A developer with experience working with e-learning products will most likely have some insights to share from their past experience.
Perhaps the navigation system initially proposed is overly complex and the developer will offer a more lean solution. The last thing you want is a yes person that builds the wrong thing simply because you thought it was the right thing.
Experience with Classic Features and Integrations
There are a couple of different approaches to building e-learning applications. There are self-paced e-learning and instructor-led e-learning models.
The features are highly dependent on the model. For example, an instructor-led model will most likely need communication features such as chat, messaging, discussion boards, audio and video conferencing.
These features can either be developed natively or leveraged with integrations. EdTech developers will have the ability to help you design the best solution depending on your short and long-term goals.
All web-based training and education products tend to use features and capabilities based on what has worked in the past.
EdTech developers see the value in quality video content delivery and micro-features such as 2x speed. Additionally, an EdTech developer will have knowledge and experience in working with particular integrations that make building applications easier.
When it comes to interactive features, this requires a certain level of experience to create efficient and scalable solutions across the codebase of an application.
Developers with a background in interactive applications are far more suited to building these types of features than a generalist.
It’s hard to predict where EdTech is going from here. The EdTech industry is one of the leaders in innovative technology. There is already so much innovation that has occurred. And there’s so much more potential.
Trio believes in socially responsible businesses at the intersection of education and software development. We welcome innovative collaborations and invite you to learn more about hiring a specialized EdTech developer with us.
Frequently Asked Questions
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EdTech is when computer hardware and/or software are integrated into the educational sector to facilitate learning.
Some successful EdTech companies include Scratch, Top Hat, Everyday Speech, and Coursera.
Many tech trends are changing the way students learns for the better. Technology like augmented and virtual reality, gamification, and online learning are changing the industry for good.