3 min read
As schools, colleges and universities closed during the first UK lockdown teachers and students had to adapt to new ways of learning online. Unsurprisingly we have seen a big increase in the adoption of EdTech by schools this year.
What is EdTech?
Ed Tech is a portmanteau of "education" and "technology" which refers to software and hardware that supports teaching and learning. It is intended to enhance traditional teaching methods and improve learner outcomes.
Unlike in the medical and financial sectors where health tech and fintech respectively have become billion dollar businesses, educators have until now been slower to adopt these tools. This could be due to a number of factors such as a lack of time by already overworked teachers; a sense that in-person teaching is preferable to online learning and a lack of solutions that fit the needs of teachers and learners.
What are the benefits of EdTech?
Reflects the way we consume content now
Online learning is more likely to mimic the way children and young adults watch streaming services; play online games and interact with their phones. The blended, seamless nature of many EdTech platforms incorporate video content, interactivity, collaboration with their peers and gamification which helps keep students engaged.
Narrows the attainment gap
Before the pandemic there was a significant gap in technology provision at home between disadvantaged students and their more well off peers. In 2020 the UK government has provided approximately 330,000 laptops to disadvantaged pupils. EdTech operating on these devices gives children more access to learning resources than ever before.
Reduces teacher stress
Teachers are often over-burdened by routine and administrative tasks which don’t leave as much time for the classroom as they would like. Time-consuming processes like lesson-planning, marking and data collection and analysis could all be transformed by EdTech solutions. There are even intelligent tutoring systems that can deliver individualized lessons.
Some of the remote learning tools in use during the pandemic:
Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google that enables teachers to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments.
Coursera is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider that partners with top universities and business institutions.
Khan Academy is an online tool that helps students learn maths, science, computing, history, art history and economics.
Blackboard is a virtual learning environment that can be used to add online elements to face-to-face teaching or deliver entirely online courses.
It is clear that the world has been permanently changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and education is no exception. The accelerated growth of EdTech shows no sign of stopping even as we move out of lockdowns.