*Updated August 2022
In the last decade, we have witnessed an explosion of new educational technologies (EdTech), with companies and educational institutions touting amazing learning potential for the new generation of students.
The EdTech sector is constantly marketing these new innovations in which technology in education, or teaching and learning technology (TLT), has the ability to teach both traditional content (science, math, history), as well as intra- and interpersonal competencies, such as teamwork and leadership skills.
One of the most heavily marketed, exciting, and even controversial applications of EdTech involves what is typically characterized as ‘personalized learning’ - a varied educational program where different students are exposed based on how big data applications have evaluated their likely learning profiles.
How has technology impacted education??
The fusion of technology and education (techeducation) is paving the way for a better and more inclusive future. As such, education technology makes learning easier, much more streamlined, and even fun.
The rise of new technological developments within the learning industry has gained interest from those not just within the educational sector but from investors and business leaders alike.
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According to EdSurge, there was $1.7 billion invested by venture capital funds into the EdTech market in 2019 across 105 deals in the United States alone. Most of these investments were dominated by large Series C investments.
When looking at publicly-traded education companies, as of January 2019, there are 29 companies that total $71.0 billion in market capitalization in the United States.
From a global perspective, HolonIQ reported that there was a $7.0 billion global education venture capital funding in 2019. If we look further and include learning technology suppliers, Metaari reports there was $18.7 billion of global private investment in 2019.
What is EdTech and its impact on learning and costs?
So, how important is technology in education? Well, EdTech is becoming an increasingly discussed topic among educators, parents, and scholars around the world. The learning environment has broadly remained the same for hundreds of years, but new technology and societal pressures are changing that.
The term ‘EdTech’ refers to educational technology used to help educators and schools facilitate and aid in their teaching to students in new and fascinating ways. In other words, EdTech is the use of any form of technological process to improve education.
It is important to note that EdTech is not simply implementing technological devices in the classroom and handing out laptops to students. Rather, you should think of EdTech as using digital technology as a medium to facilitate and deliver a new form of learning architecture.
In other words, a new learning architecture has the ability for educators to deliver personalized learning and training to their students based on the individual’s learning needs. And now more than ever, new technologies are now utilizing the potential of big data analysis to understand the most effective ways for students to progress.
In an age of increasing accountability and diminishing budgets, school districts and educators are constantly trying to balance and demonstrate efficient use of finite resources to deliver the best possible education to their students.
According to True Education Partnerships, the combined education and training industries account for more than $4 trillion. With the increase in the costs of providing education and concerns about financial responsibility, there has been a recent shift towards focusing more on promises offered by online software and educational technology well before the pandemic hit.
It is no surprise that EdTech is seizing valuable opportunities where costs associated with teaching resources, teaching staff, physical hardware, and maintenance can be dramatically reduced. In addition, with the advent of reliable cloud computing services and faster and more reliable broadband services, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in schools will become the new norm.
How does EdTech help students and teachers?
There are thousands of EdTech tools that enhance both the student and teacher experience. The advantages of technology in education are becoming more known. For example, EdTech tools can feature virtual technology (VR) devices that help students visualize a concept or an idea while also providing an immersive experience. On the other hand, EdTech tools can consist of data science-based platforms that utilize big data and analytics to help teachers identify learning habits so that they can subsequently create personalized lesson plans for each student.
Edtech helps both students and teachers in many distinct ways. Built In summarizes how EdTech is directly impacting the way students learn and how teachers teach and how technology has changed education positively. For students, new technologies are introducing new avenues of learning:
Cloud-based technology and tools are fostering collaboration in the classroom. Tablets and laptops are now making it easier for students to engage with learning games and online lessons while working together. Cloud technology also allows students to easily upload their assignments digitally, which makes it easier for both the student and teacher to converse about homework or any help they may need.
24/7 Access to Learning
IoT devices are making it easier for students to access information anytime, anywhere. Having full access to the classroom in a digital environment using Wi-Fi and cloud access allows students to work on their assignments and study at their own pace. It is no longer necessary to be physically present in a classroom to have access to all the information students need to move forward.
“Flipping” the Classroom
Traditional classroom teaching would usually involve students listening to lectures and then working on assignments at home. With the advent of video lectures and learning applications, students can now watch lessons anywhere outside the classroom. EdTech is completely shifting the way traditional classroom experiences are towards one that is focused on cross-collaboration between students and teachers. This type of learning style helps foster self-learning and greater creativity.
Personalized Educational Experiences
EdTech opens up new opportunities for educators and teachers to create personalized learning plans for their students. This allows for a catered learning environment that is customized based on a specific student’s strengths, skills, and interests.
From a student perspective, digital learning content helps students learn at their own pace where they have the flexibility to pause and rewind lectures in order to fully grasp each lesson. With analytic tools, educators can see which students are struggling within certain areas and can later offer support on the subjects they are having difficulty with.
Proponents within the EdTech industry strongly argue that technology is such a vital tool to capture a student’s attention. Additionally, scholars are also finding that students and teachers have positive attitudes toward technology integration and feel that it has positive impacts on learning satisfaction, promotes engagement, and facilitates academic success.
For teachers, EdTech is allowing them to develop efficient teaching strategies and practices in an effort to save time in the classroom. Here are four ways assistive technology in education is helping teachers:
New AI and ML-supported technologies are poised to ease grade assignments. Especially for objective assignments like multiple-choice or true/false, it frees up a huge chunk of time that teachers would usually spend grading assignments. It would be no surprise to think that in the near future, technology could allow the grader to cross-reference answers online that are written in short answer or even essay format. As such, the potential for auto-grading technologies is becoming more and more apparent. Estelle Liotard, an academic writing expert and education advisor at the TutorMe site, says, “Such technology will help make the grading process more objective, precise, and free of human errors and inaccuracies.”
Classroom Management Tools
The EdTech industry is also involved in creating applications that help educators, students, and parents all be involved in the learning process. For parents, it could be useful to be sent reminders and notifications regarding their kids’ homework and assignments. For students themselves, it could be useful for them to have access to certain learning tools that can optimize their learning environment, such as monitoring classroom noise levels. These are just two examples of many tools that can be used to create a less chaotic and more collaborative learning environment.
There is no longer a need to spend countless hours at the copy machine printing hundreds if not thousands of sheets of paper to be distributed to each student in the classroom. The weight of having to carry boxes filled with assignments and tests is no longer burdened on teachers thanks to EdTech while promoting overall greener policies in the classroom.
Teachers and educators are always assessing how to improve the skills of their students, which can sometimes take countless hours. EdTech now has the ability to harness the tools and data platforms to constantly assess individual students’ learning style and needs that can be relayed to the teacher. This can be important to identify a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and even learning disabilities from an early stage so teachers can put forth a proactive learning plan as early as possible.
The future of EdTech and building the innovation economy
Educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities) have long been following traditional methods of learning, that is, having face-to-face lectures in a classroom. In recent years, ‘eLearning’, or learning through a computer or digital interface, has been implemented along with classroom lectures with what is known as Blended Learning.
Blended learning has been used as a form of strategy within the learning process which utilizes existing resources (educators, curriculum) while creating new learning experiences for students. However, this new shift in using technology is not yet fully embraced by educators, though this sentiment may soon change. Pilot studies are showing that through personalized blended learning, students show better outcomes.
EdTech has the potential to create efficiencies across the curriculum - it can take some of the workloads off educators, cut costs, increase student engagement, and improve digital skills and literacy such as coding, which are quite needed for 21-century careers. Most importantly, the notion of online learning and EdTech’s role has allowed students to still be engaged in the learning process amidst the COVID-19 crisis while protecting students, educators, and parents.
In the end, the amount of knowledge and skills we dedicate and invest towards the next generation of students, whether it be through the school system, technology in higher education, and other learning resources, is ultimately going to benefit the world economically.
Failing to invest in new technologies and innovation that can better improve student learning will we lose our ability to develop skilled workers, imaginative thinking and creativity, which will hinder our ability to grow and innovate across various sectors and industries.
Therefore, in order to develop the innovation economy requires investment in new skills, teaching, resources, and innovation within the educational sector in an effort to improve our learning systems of which new opportunities for the future arise. And EdTech is one of the main drivers of this new type of economic thinking.
Where Valuer can help
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These new innovative companies are spawning new ideas that are disrupting the marketplace. It is up to companies to be prepared to minimize the impact of these disruptions and capitalize on important opportunities with young and prospectful starups.