As time progresses it becomes more and more difficult to engage students in learning without involving technology. It is a fact. Young people cannot imagine life without technology, as they conduct most aspects of their lives online and prefer to communicate via networks.
So why don’t we use it as a touchpoint and create an environment students like to spend time in, learning, socializing and communicating in a more familiar way?
Edtech is the answer.
It is a growing field that opens plenty of new opportunities for both teachers and students. The edtech industry is already being explored, but not to the extent that might be expected. It is going to revolutionize education in the long term.
In this article you’re going to find out what edtech is, how it affects costs, go through the edtech industry examples, and analyze the latest edtech trends.
Most importantly, you will learn why we should use educational technology as the only path for productive and effective learning.
- What is Edtech?
- Benefits of Educational Technology
- Impact of Edtech on Costs
- What is Going on in the Edtech Market?
- Examples of Educational Technology
- Top Educational Technology Trends in 2020-2021
Let’s dive right in.
What is Edtech?
Edtech, or educational technology, is the combination of the best educational practices and advanced IT tools used to facilitate the learning process and provide more personalized learning.
Traditional education is falling behind modern approaches that change the way information is perceived, stored, shared, and used to improve learning.
That is why the use of multiple IT tools, apps and cloud-based platforms in the learning process not only makes studying more fun, it makes it more engaging and efficient.
However, it can only bring results and close achievement gaps if used correctly, since:
- Edtech is a systematic approach. Teachers have to follow a curriculum. They cannot use random tools for random purposes. New education technology has to be implemented purposefully and gradually.
- Education technology has to be relevant. To achieve the goal you have to choose the right tools and means of achieving it. Taking that into account, the use of edtech in the learning process has to be driven by the objective and the milestones.
- Edtech is a disciplined approach. Students’ needs may vary. Teachers have to choose the technology to speak and appeal to these needs to make the classes not only relevant but productive.
So, educational technology is not only the modern approach, it is next-gen education.
If, some time ago, the use of computers and tablets in classrooms was just a dream, it is quite mundane now. Their place has been taken by smartboards, interactive projection screens and VR headsets.
Sounds impressive, right?
That is just the way modern classrooms are today. Edtech is flipping our perception of learning. Since 92% of teachers agree that technology has a tremendous impact on the way people learn, we’re going to hear a lot more about edtech in the very near future.
Benefits of Educational Technology
Edtech is definitely here to stay, and with good reason. Here are the top benefits of edtech in education:
Personalized Learning Experience
There is no one the same: we are all different, and that goes for the way we comprehend and perceive information, too. There are quick and slow learners and, traditionally, teachers have to work hard to keep all of the students engaged.
Educational technology changes that. There are apps that constantly grade students’ performance to discover patterns.
Teachers, therefore, can rely on this data to create personalized learning plans for each student.
24/7 Access to Learning
The learning process is no longer limited to the education establishment. IoT tools make it possible for students to learn wherever they are: on the bus, in a café, or at home.
Thanks to the connected devices that provide cloud access and Wi-Fi, students can study at their own pace, avoiding stress-inducing and forced learning.
Technology is what modern generations can’t do without. Using edtech as an integral part of the learning process prompts collaboration. Cloud-enabled tools and tablets make students work on solving problems together.
Children can upload their homework to cloud-based platforms. It allows them to get feedback, ask for advice and work on their weaknesses collaboratively.
Organizing the learning process without education technology is difficult, especially once it has been introduced in class at least once. And it’s no wonder.
Edtech helps to optimize learning in multiple possible ways. Some apps send notifications about projects and homework tasks to both students and parents, so they can streamline their schedule and deliver assignments on time.
Teachers’ jobs can never be overestimated. They do tremendous work setting and collecting assignments, checking them, giving feedback to students and working on new teaching methods. It is hard to even imagine how much time and effort it takes. Edtech facilitates that process, too. Artificial intelligence helps to grade students’ projects and assignments based on the task. This not only frees some time for teachers to work on their expertise, but allows students to get feedback through the system right away. Both are at an advantage thanks to education technology.
The list can go on and on, since edtech is constantly developing, and drawing new routes for education improvement.
However, if you are still not convinced technology can change the education process, wait till you hear about the influence of edtech on costs.
Impact of Edtech on Costs
It is obvious that traditional education no longer has a place in a technology-based world. It has to develop and evolve to feel the growing need for edtech.
According to HOTTOPICS, the combined education and training industries worldwide account for spending of more than $4 trillion, representing a huge 84 percent increase since 2000. At the same time, it is estimated that 85% of education expenses are spent on delivering it. However, there was no significant improvement in the learning scores during that period.
That brings us to the question of how, exactly, can edtech influence costs?
To eliminate the gap in education expenditure and educational performance, we simply need to implement technology.
It may not appear to have a great influence on learning at first glance, but it will be a wise investment in the long term.
Just think about it.
Extended use of videos has proven to be an effective engagement tool. IoT tools and cloud usage moved learning beyond limits.
There’s even more to it than that.
AR and VR as progressive means of edtech allow the creation of an immersive environment where students learn faster, more easily, and more effectively.
Cloud-based platforms allow storage of huge amounts of information and learning materials for anyone around the globe to use and benefit from.
Educational technology democratizes education, and makes it accessible for all.
So, why don’t we adopt new technologies that will be a greater return on investment instead of funding brick and mortar learning establishments, and expecting it to pay off?
Education needs technology.
What is Going on in the Edtech Market?
Educational technology is flourishing right now. Notwithstanding the pandemic “contribution”, multiple edtech startups appeared overnight because of growing attention surrounding the industry.
Technology makes learning more engaging, accessible and centralized. The edtech market is filled with big data, machine learning, IoT, blockchain technology, and many other edtech trends that have grown exponentially.
So, here are some recent statistics that show the increase of the edtech market:
- The value of the education technology market was about USD 89.49 billion in 2020. (Grandview)
- There was a +56% increase in job roles advertised in edtech in the past year (Fenews)
- Edtech market size value has reached $106.04 billion in 2021. (Grandview)
- The global edtech market is expected to reach $404 billion by 2025 (Holon IQ)
- A market revenue share of 41% was accounted for the K-12 segment in 2020. (Grandview)
This data only shows that the edtech market is on the rise, and will continue expanding with the constant need for advanced education. More and more new technologies are yet to come.
Examples of Educational Technology
Now, as we all agree education technology is a must for modern education since both students and teachers demand it, we can move to the best part – educational technology examples.
Edtech implementation in the learning process has a lot of benefits. Nevertheless, it has to be gradual and systematic, not speaking about the relevancy of the selected tools.
It is very subjective.
So, here are the top educational technology examples already explored in different learning stages:
1. Digital readers and tablets
The tablet is a versatile edtech tool already used in thousands of classes worldwide. It eliminates the need for carrying multiple books and purchasing different textbooks each year. Students can upload all the necessary materials and create an ultimate source of information.
- Personalized approach. Students have full control over their learning materials and always know where their homework is.
- Easy to use. Being technology natives, modern students can easily learn and adjust using tablets in the learning process.
- Cost-effective. Just imagine how much money it saves on printing textbooks, especially with new teaching methods coming along regularly. With this example of edtech you just have to upload a new version. That’s it.
- Boosting creativity and visualization. Having multiple apps and games installed encourages students to study outside classrooms and develop new skills in a fun and interesting way.
2. Mobile devices
You probably won’t find a kid that doesn’t know how to use a mobile phone. They seem to be born with this skill. Moreover, they are so reliant on their smartphones, depriving them of the opportunity to use them can do more harm than good.
Why don’t we encourage the use of mobile devices instead?
- Sense of ownership. With their mobile phones students can develop a sense of ownership and learn through the mediums they are most comfortable with. They moderate their education.
- Active collaboration. Using mobiles enhances and synchronizes communication. It boosts collaboration between students, teachers, parents and the whole school community.
- Total accessibility. We use our phones every day for multiple purposes, carrying them around with us all day. Wake up and go to bed with it. It is hard to imagine a more accessible educational source.
Smartboards are a great edtech example that took the place of the whiteboard for a good reason: they provide a more advanced multimedia approach to presenting information.
They are multi-purpose. Students can use this educational technology to deliver presentations, watch videos and learn in a more interactive and engaging way.
- Low Maintenance. Smartboards are extremely easy to use and require nothing but a special pen to write with, or, in more advanced versions, just your finger. Students won’t get messy cleaning off boards.
- Improved interaction. Multiple students can use a smartboard at the same time. It encourages active collaboration. It also proves one more time how edtech is changing the regular learning setting.
- Technology integration. You can connect practically any device to a smartboard: from cameras to microscopes. They are exceedingly technology-friendly.
- Online resources. A variety of smart technology reinforces traditional lessons. Teachers can demonstrate videos or websites through applications.
4. 3D printing
3D printing is a progressive educational technology. It revolutionizes the way students learn and perceive learning materials. Not only is it interesting and engaging, it provides hands-on experience with real-life models.
- Versatile learning experience. Like no other edtech tool, 3D printing allows students to touch what they learn. It allows them to step out of the theory world into practice.
- Improved engagement. Conventional classes are not going to provide such a level of engagement as 3D printing does. No student can stay away from this fun and interactive learning practice.
- Unified curriculum. This technology is unique since it can be implemented in any subject: from arts to geography and medicine. It boosts collaboration at every stage of the project.
5. Artificial intelligence
Grading and evaluating students’ behaviors takes a good deal of time – time that teachers would rather spend on one-on-one interactions with students. AI tools are available to simplify certain learning processes.
- Personalized learning experience. AI can help teachers define learning patterns to eliminate students’ weaknesses and work on their strengths.
- Improved management efficiency. Teachers go through multiple repetitive tasks daily. All these tasks can be completed by AI to make management more effective.
- Real-time assessment. With AI there is no need to wait for the annual achievements reports. It constantly evaluates students’ performance and gives feedback to teachers. It can, therefore, be used to create enhanced learning plans.
6. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
Could educational technology get any better without AR or VR? Definitely not, since it provides unique experiences for students of all ages. This technology flips the traditional learning approaches and engages both educators and learners.
- Simplified learning. Every student can benefit from VR and AP technologies in a classroom. It makes any concept, simple or complex, easy to understand.
- Real-world experience. Students can travel beyond their classroom, through any geographical location or time period, and immerse themselves in any subject. Getting real-time experience guarantees better understanding and more effective studying.
- Boosted creativity. Any project is more fun with VR and AR, which boost creativity and encourage students to come up with new ways of presenting their assignments. Information is best perceived visually, and there is no better tool for that.
Imagine how good it will be to have round-the-clock access to all learning materials, online courses, assignments and teachers’ feedback. Cloud-based platforms provide all of that. The only thing students need to access that information is a strong internet connection.
- Ultimate source of learning materials. All of the materials, books, homework, assignments and projects are carefully stored in one place for round-the-clock access.
- Global coverage. The versatility of cloud-based platforms allows anyone, from anywhere, to access learning materials. This provides a global experience and makes learning accessible to everyone.
- Cost-effective. Having all the necessary information stored in one place helps schools and other education establishments to reduce expenditure on in-house data servers.
Technology makes our lives easier in so many ways, and not just socially or economically. It makes all processes easier, and learning is no exception. The tools listed above are just a few examples of education technology.
The use of multiple IT tools and educational software in a learning process has a pattern and creates trends. It changes the way education is perceived at large.
Next we’re going to review trends in educational technology that revolutionized education in 2020 and continue to develop in 2021.
Top Educational Technology Trends in 2020-2021
Education technology developed gradually, but it was never booming as much as during 2020. COVID-19 is a stage of our lives we can never skip. It is also a great lesson that taught us to adjust and become inventive.
Most importantly it has made us see things we are used to from a different perspective, and re-evaluate the way we perform everyday tasks.
Education in particular.
Starting in 2020 and continuing in 2021 the edtech industry is on the rise, giving birth to thousands of edtech startups. So, here are the top education technology trends to keep an eye on.
The pandemic increased the demand for alternative ways of learning and teaching. Education and training industries had no choice but to turn to eLearning. However, what is it?
eLearning is a new way of presenting and comprehending information digitally. It is a more convenient, comfortable and facilitated way of learning. Students are involved in live communication with their peers and teachers via various forms of equipment: mobiles, tablets or computers.
In the digital era, demand for online learning is rising every day. Students are encouraged to work on tasks collaboratively via multiple online platforms.
Various online tools, from videos and podcasts to games and Zoom meetings, fill modern classes nowadays, since it is not just something we need: it is required.
eLearning is definitely here to stay. So, the growing need for new education startups should only increase.
2. AI technology
Teachers’ plates are filled with more than enough tasks, so it makes good sense to hand over some of those tasks to AI.
AI is one of the educational technology examples already discussed. It is also a rising edtech trend that significantly facilitates grading and assessment. Multiple edtech companies have appeared recently, which provide fully-featured AI assistants.
However, its abilities are not only limited to grading: AI can provide feedback, create a learning profile, and can alert both teachers and parents about a drop in performance.
It is a must-have tool for 2021 generation classes.
3. Learning Analytics
All of the data gathered with the help of AI can be used in learning analytics – another growing edtech trend.
Analyzing learning patterns provides insights into students’ behaviors, and enables teachers and educators to provide better learning experiences.
It allows educators to discover which learning materials students are more comfortable working with, and to find the best way to present information for each student.
Learning analytics help to enhance the learning environment at large by eliminating studying challenges with the help of gathered information.
Blockchain opens new horizons for data storage. It is a goldmine for educators where they can find anything they need to create interactive and more engaging lessons. Every piece of data gathered and analyzed by AI can then be stored for later use.
Distributed Ledger Technology, provided by blockchain, breaks all limits to data storage. Data can then be spread to multiple devices added to the system. It makes learning more convenient and centralized.
More and more edtech startups are developing around this sensational education technology, not without a reason.
A sense of achievement and excitement will invariably attract children to games. Earning scores, points and badges is compelling, and children of all ages enjoy playing games. There is no excuse for not using gaming for educational purposes.
Gamification is another edtech trend that has made its way in education, not only in 2020 and 2021. Multiple apps allow converting dull and boring learning processes into fun and engaging activities. Students will learn from playing games without even realizing it.
Although it is more useful for young learners, no rule forbids using gamification methods for teaching high school or college students.
6. Immersive Learning
Believe it or not, immersive learning is one of the most progressive edtech trends that is expected to reach $375 billion by 2026.
That’s because VR and AR provide a unique learning experience and allow us to comprehend the most complex concepts easier. Students can learn practically anything from medicine to geography without leaving a classroom.
Imagine being able to travel to the bottom of Mariana Trench, or inside the blood vessels of the human body to visually explore the unknown. Not even the most engaging books and images can provide that experience.
STEM is the educational approach incorporated in a lot of schools for many years. It stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
STEAM, on the other hand, is a new term that appeared in the booming era of edtech. The additional ‘A’ is for Arts, and this approach adds a new Arts element to the existing form. Many education startups take it into consideration when creating new-age IT tools for better learning.
With STEAM students can get hands-on experience, think outside the box, experiment and learn.
Most importantly, it encourages collaboration. And with the help of multiple edtech tools STEAM is going to keep its place in the list of the most popular trends in modern education.
8. Social Media Learning
Hard to believe, but instead of banning social media, we can use it for educational purposes. Modern kids rarely pass a day without using social networks. So utilising it in learning will not only be interesting, but also effective.
Just think about it. Why can’t kids share learning materials, create posts about their achievements, discuss difficulties and collaborate for projects via social channels if they already do it daily?
This edtech trend just started to take shape, but there are already multiple edtech companies using it, with more in years to come.
Traditional education is proven to be ineffective in a modern environment for multiple reasons. Children are now born in a world of technology that facilitates everything around us. Education in particular.
Perceiving information through text and images alone can’t satisfy the growing need for advanced methods.
With so many edtech facilities available it shouldn’t be hard for teachers and learners to streamline the learning process and create an environment both are comfortable working in.
Multiple edtech tools from blockchain and IoT to VR and AI are here to help. They can only boost education when used in a combination with advanced teaching and learning methods.
Most importantly, they are not here to replace the educators. They are here to assist.
Don’t you think so?