The discussion on top trends in educational technology should always begin with the technologies that seemingly will revolutionise the education sector. The number 1 technology in this list right now is extended reality. The most popular extended reality, Artificial Intelligence will keep on bridging the gaps in teaching and learning. This will also help educational institutions to personalise learning for every individual student. 

With students as well as teachers interacting with IoT (Internet of Things) devices and several other digital tools such as educational apps. An enormous amount of data is being gathered in education. Processing all of this data will enable corporations to personalise learning, determine interventions, and find the possible solutions to streamline the process of education.

Education is getting more mobile with each passing day. Both educational institutions and technology service providers are continuously figuring out how to enhance the learning experience with the use of mobile technology. The increasing flow of data, especially with the use of AR/VR, would require high bandwidth networks and fortunately, 5G is here. The 5G technology will provide the platform through which the users (students and teachers) will be able to access massive amounts of data. Lastly, blockchain technology will also help institutions to store data safely.

Current Trends in Educational Technology

A clear indicator which implicates that education technology is a big deal, is the number of billionaires that the education sector has created. In China, Among 400 billionaires, seven belong to the Chinese education industry. The richest among them was Li Yongxin, cofounder and the chairman of Shenzhen-listed Office Education Technology. A company that provides online as well as offline training for individuals who are opting for civil service examinations. 

A recent Deloitte report states that by 2025, the Chinese education market is expected to reach $715 billion. So, in future, we’ll be witnessing many billionaires from the Chinese EdTech industry. But, it isn’t just the Chinese market which is seeing the boom of education technology. According to EdWeek’s Market Brief, 15% of the schools in the USA will be having a set of VR classroom kits by 2021.

A new report by London & Partners and Dealroom, reveals that London holds the position of the top destination for EdTech investment in Europe, with $630 million invested into London-based EdTech companies. It is the only European city among the top 10 destinations for EdTech VC investment value. The first four positions are held by Beijing, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Bangalore respectively, which clearly states that China dominates the global EdTech market.

Impact of Covid-19 on EdTech

The Covid-19 outbreak has brought many disruptions to the business scenario globally. The education sector has, however, seen a positive change with global EdTech investment growing by 15% in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has made the world realise how technology can be utilised to support learning. 

EdTech experts believe that improved access to education has introduced new learning opportunities for the world. The increasing availability of online courses means that those who don’t have access to world-class education, can now learn without having to pay extortionate fees. For instance, Coursera realised 10.3 million enrolments in the first thirty days of the pandemic. It was an enormous 644% rise compared to the same period in the previous year.

This democratisation of education is the positive outcome of the coronavirus pandemic, which we should continue to promote. The pandemic has made us realise that learning can take place anywhere and anytime. Thus, the education industry needs to adapt to the new normal.

What is EdTech?

Education Technology or EdTech is an area of technology which is focused on developing software solutions that are intended to streamline the educational processes. Today, technological innovations have moved the classrooms beyond the clunky desktop computers. With emerging technologies, classroom education is moving towards a more immersive and futuristic experience. The EdTech industry in 2020, consists of a variety of educational tools that are powered by several technologies such as IoT and machine learning. 

Latest Trends in Educational Technology

1. More Accessible Education

Financial considerations only won’t be suffice when talking about education accessibility. In 2018, the UN estimated that more than 263 million children aren’t getting a full-time education worldwide. At the same time, there are several factors that influence these statistics, such as qualified education accessibility, study material accessibility and learning accommodations. Online learning appears to be the solution to make education more accessible, even in remote areas. Hence, EdTech solutions are on the rise to eliminate the common barriers to providing quality education for everyone. 

The digital form of conventional textbooks can easily be accessed online 24/7. This option also removes the need for students to require transportation to reach an education facility such as a library. The digital format of books are very inexpensive and can immediately be made available across the globe. There are innumerous other benefits of digital textbooks, such as the low translating cost.

The conventional classroom has a considerable drawback of learning differences. The online education system eliminates the learning differences by personalising education for every individual. The AI-powered tailor-made EdTech solutions will make student-paced learning a reality. The EdTech industry also offers learning opportunities for students who have suffering disabilities.

2. Data-Driven Insights

The ubiquitous phrase, “Data is the new oil” is also applicable in the education sector. Similar to other industries, the data-driven insights can help educators to make education more effective and efficient. The insights into how the digital curriculum is followed by the students will help educational institutions enhance the quality of education.

Emerging technologies such as machine learning, big data, and artificial intelligence, will make it possible for EdTech companies to enable the more in-depth personalisation of study material to meet individual learning needs. Language learning apps like Duolingo, are already helping people learn as per the individual’s current knowledge on the subject and their desired pace of learning. 

3. More Immersive Education

Extended reality technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, are bringing immersive learning experiences to the students. Lessons such as the ancient Roman empire will become alive with immersive learning. The student will wear a VR headset and take a walk through the digital version of that particular period.

Another example would be that the students can experience hard-to-understand modern-day topics via an extended reality technology. Virtual experiences such as walking through the Syrian refugees camp, will help students understand the concepts better. Such technologies encourage students to learn by experiencing.

Students nowadays are familiar with using voice interfaces to ask questions such as the definition of a word or other such info. The chatbots can further be upgraded to deliver lectures and engage with students.

4. Learning Gamification

Learning gamification, also known as game-based learning, has existed in the tech-space for a long time. However, a few years ago, gamification was considered flippant for the EdTech industry. But, now the educators think differently when it comes to including interactive video and competitive learning games to motivate students. 

Experts say that learning gamification takes away the anxiety or pressure of earning grades. Gamification encourages conceptual learning over rote memorisation and allows students to get more involved in the learning process. Replacing grades with learning badges will surely make learning more effective.

5. Data Security

With each passing year, the need for data security gets higher. Security becomes more crucial with the increasing usage of cloud computing and storage. Educational institutions prefer cloud storage due to it’s shared environment, which makes it easier to access data from anywhere. The accessibility however comes with a risk of data theft.

For many institutions, cybercrime has been a huge concern. Educational institutions cannot compromise students’ personal information. Not only this, but the institutions also store assignments and test results on the cloud. Therefore the EdTech industry is implementing the best data security measures to safeguard online data.

Talking about cybersecurity and crimes, we also must talk about cyberbullying. In the year 2017, 14.5% of the students in the USA reported cyberbullying. Cyberbullying leads to dangerous outcomes; therefore, cybersecurity is one of the latest trends in educational technology for 2021.

Challenges with Educational Technology Implementation in 2021

Though technology is improving the accessibility of education over the past few months, we have to ask ourselves, if we have the infrastructure ready to adapt to digital-only education for the 1.6 billion students that are affected due to school closures.

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) reported very frightening figures in this regard. On average across the OECD countries,

  • Only around half of the 15-years-old are associated with schools that provide online learning.
  • 9% of 15-years-old students don’t have access to a quiet place in their homes to study.
  • The school principals report that 35% of 15-years-old students study in schools, where the teaching staff don’t have the teaching skills that can integrate with digital learning.

700m Students don’t’ have Internet Access at Home

The more depressing thing is more than half of the students (800 million) don’t have access to a personal computer, whereas 43% of the students (around 700 million) have no internet access. Moreover, 56 million students reside in places where mobile networks aren’t available. 

To overcome such challenges with the adoption of digital learning and its effectiveness, the schools, teaching staff, and parents need to collaborate to provide the students with an environment that is ideal for remote learning. The first step is to involve teachers in planning the digital curriculum, so that the technology addresses their instructional needs. Also, the teaching faculty should be trained to utilise technology for their teaching purposes.

Conclusion

It isn’t only the Covid-19 outbreak which is responsible behind the rise of these five trends in educational technology for 2021. The rise of technology in the education sector dates back to a decade ago, when apps like Duolingo started a revolution to democratise education for everyone. The technological shift has successfully made the world pass through the pandemic.

There are various EdTech solutions available out there, and we at Nimble AppGenie have been building technology solutions for educational institutions since 2017. Whether you are an educational institute or an EdTech startup looking for technology and development support, feel free to reach out to us by filling out a simple form – contact us