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There has been a drastic change in the way education is imparted post COVID-19 pandemic.
Shifting of mode for the majority of classes from offline to online had forced many teachers to amalgamate their traditional methods of teaching with the applications of the web. The education sector at the global level was estimated at 89.49 billion US dollars in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 19.9% is expected to reach 377.85 billion US dollars by 2028. With the rapid development of other sectors with evolving technologies, Education Technology (EdTech) has also started leveraging the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality which has contributed significantly to the global revenue.
Technology has become a primary part of the global industry and since students are more attuned to digital channels, the engagement with it must be healthy. Through technology, students can access a multitude of online resources, videos, and study materials. The integration of one-on-one learning has increased and the students are able to learn at their own pace. Learning through a digital medium is more hands-on and incorporates more creativity. Many schools have tried to bridge the gap between disadvantaged and privileged students by providing free tablets and phones. In the US, almost all 15-year-olds have access to a computer, while only a quarter do not. The implementation of technology in schools as a mandatory step during the COVID-19 pandemic has made education accessible to all.
Currently, the market has seen a surge in the number of startups and other software companies building education-based products. The introduction of advanced interactive whiteboards, video-conferencing software with in-built classroom features, and assignment submission software are many such examples of recent products. There are proper Student Information Systems that have singular profiles of students that store and manage all data.
This data collected is further used for comprehensive analysis to find gaps and trends in the overall understanding of various topics in a particular subject area.
Gaming and entertainment have found themselves merging with the live-group sessions. New apps are highly interactive and they have adaptive touch features along with pre-recorded content and activities, which has also increased the participation of parents in the academic experience of their children. The EdTech is dominated by free online courses and lectures from various institutes where any student can enroll and learn a subject of their interest.
Following are some new possibilities and trends in EdTech and how they will shape the future:
AI in education can drive efficiency, personalization, and streamlining of the process of learning. It has the power to substantiate the freedom of adaptability through the development of intelligent instruction design that identifies the gaps in knowledge a student is facing and provides them with challenges and new topics to appropriate. The next step would be that the AI will be able to grasp the student’s expression and recommend lessons as per one’s understanding. The curriculum will become more customized as AI becomes more sophisticated.
The usage of IoT to support peer-to-peer information exchange is the best advantage that a digital medium can provide, for sharing of information and training materials, and promoting the accessibility of education. Student progress tracking and professional monitoring of the staff are also added benefits for the school management systems.
Virtual reality in education, with headsets creating entire virtual classrooms, are gaining significant traction. The immersive experience of simulations helps the students to learn through experiential methods. The use of AR to create an inclusive classroom gives an opportunity to creatively enjoy the process through engagement and the focus shifts more onto practicing a certain theory instead of cramming it.
With mobile devices at the center of learning, organizations are also leveraging the pull and popularity of mobile games to drive the EdTech industry to success. Games motivate students to compete in an immersive and fun environment, and boost motivation and self-learning. At [x]cube LABS, we have helped a number of organizations implement effective gamification strategies to make learning less of a chore for a young target audience. Aside from gaining knowledge, games also develop non-cognitive skills, make learning social, and benefit students with special needs.
The use of digital technologies and real-time data fetching leads to the creation of immense amounts of data. This amount of data is usually susceptible to breach, can cause disruptions to school operations and leak of information through school management systems. The lack of proper online testing platforms is also a current challenge, as, with the increase in the number of connected devices, in-class ethics has taken a hit.
However, the biggest challenge is the incurrence of the implementation and maintenance costs. For the deployment of an application platform, a dedicated technical team, software, and hardware license fee, and implementation of connected devices will be required, which is not affordable for all kinds of school administrations, especially those that are public-funded.
The wave of the emergence of EdTech has posed a big question – what role will the teachers play? Availability of so much content comes with a huge drawback that is the lack of proper directions. Guidance from teachers will still be needed in accessing and navigating through this vast ocean of knowledge. The EdTech sector has seen the fastest growth in content delivery with better visualization applications. People with learning disabilities will also have better facilities as more and more advancement is seen in this aspect of educational advancement. Long-term learning has become a part of the adult lifestyle and corporate workers. Nonetheless, technological development in education is a long road, where prospects are still widening and gaps are being assessed to fill.