Edtech (educational technology) came to everyone’s attention during Covid lockdowns and social distancing. The ways it had to be used, quite suddenly, opened many people’s eyes to what it can deliver and how relatively straightforward it was to grasp the edtech technology and techniques of remote learning – with edtech helping to raise education standards for both educators and learners. The challenges now for edtech to further help current education systems include maintaining its momentum against entrenched attitudes of some of the educational establishment, and raising education standards for everyone from the earliest age learners to training workers.
Whilst not discussed in this article, the Covid experience also brought home some wider social and economic factors of achieving inclusive access to IT hardware and software.
What does edtech deliver?
Edtech can help raise standards within the current education system in several ways:
- Personalized learning
Edtech tools can provide customised learning experiences for students based on their individual needs, interests, and pace of learning.
- Improved accessibility
With the widespread availability of technology and internet, edtech solutions can bring education to remote and under-resourced areas.
- Increased engagement|
Interactive and multimedia-rich educational content can help to keep students engaged and motivated.
- Better assessment
Edtech tools can automate the assessment process, providing instant feedback and enabling data-driven decision making.
- Enhanced collaboration
Many edtech tools support collaborative learning, allowing students to work together and learn from each other.
Overall, edtech has the potential to transform education and improve learning outcomes, as long as it is integrated thoughtfully and effectively into the existing educational system.
Where in the world is edtech strongest?
It is difficult to determine a single country that is leading in edtech as the field is rapidly evolving and different countries are excelling in different areas. However, here are some of the countries that are generally considered to be at the forefront.
The US is home to many of the world’s leading edtech companies and is a hub for innovation and investment in the field. Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, the UK has a strong education system and a thriving startup ecosystem, which has resulted in a number of successful edtech companies emerging in recent years. Also, Australia has a strong focus on technology in education and has made significant investments in edtech, with a number of innovative solutions being developed and adopted in the country. This is the country that pioneered education by radio to deliver remote learning for children living in the vast Outback, sometimes hundreds of miles from the nearest neighbours.
South Korea is known for its advanced technology infrastructure and innovative use of technology in education, and has a number of leading edtech companies and initiatives. It is also home to over 350 edtech startups.
China rapidly became a major player in the edtech sector, with edtech helping to raise education standards through a large number of startups and more established companies offering innovative solutions to the huge domestic market. However, a wide-ranging crackdown on private enterprises began in 2021. Companies that teach school curriculum subjects are banned from making profits, raising capital, or listing on stock exchanges worldwide. It also means they cannot accept foreign investment. Many of the leading edtech companies in China are transforming to survive such policies.
These are just a few examples, and other countries are also making significant contributions to the edtech field. The global nature of the industry means that solutions and innovations can be adopted and adapted by educators and learners around the world, regardless of their location.
Higher learning of specialised subjects
Edtech can be particularly beneficial for helping to raise standards in the current education system in specialised subjects in higher education, in ways such as:
- Online courses and virtual classrooms
Edtech platforms can offer online courses for specialised subjects, providing students with flexible and accessible learning options.
- Simulation and visualisation tools
For subjects like engineering, architecture, and scientific research, edtech tools can provide interactive simulations and visualisations to help students understand complex concepts and theories.
- Interactive learning resources
Edtech can provide students with interactive learning resources, such as e-books, videos, and interactive quizzes, to support their understanding of specialised subjects.
- Data analysis and interpretation
For subjects like data science, statistics, and economics, edtech tools can support data analysis and interpretation, helping students to develop practical skills and apply their learning to real-world scenarios.
In conclusion, edtech can support higher education in specialised subjects by providing students with flexible, interactive, and engaging learning experiences that can enhance their understanding and skills.