In 2020 we saw an incredible increase in education technology usage across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational Technologies became central to the delivery of education across the globe with the lockdown imposed in different parts of the world at different times.
According to The World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children globally have been out of the classroom since coronavirus breakout. The educational field was constantly evolving along with new technologies even before the pandemic. However, due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the global lockdown, distance learning became vital in 2020. Schools have used Google Classroom and other tools to teach their students and send them work. Parents and caregivers have used multiple online platforms throughout this time to help during homeschooling, and with new cases of Covid-19 still growing with new waves in the world, it seems EdTech is going nowhere soon. Read along to better understand the current trends in educational tech and SaaS. It is predicted that in 2025 worldwide spending on EdTech will increase in several key segments:
Source : Statista
Education technology can improve learning outcomes for hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide - and thereby increase their quality of life with less costs.
Here are the top 10 trends of EdTech noticed which will continue upward movements in next few years to come.
Immersive Technologies (AR and VR)
In the era before the current pandemic , traditional approach to education involved many experiences through textual content in books , online videos , field trips etc. With evolving VR and AR technologies , they help to simulate real-life situations, and offering far more value than a traditional classroom setup ever could. Extended reality encompassing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality brings immersive learning experiences to students no matter where they are. For example, a lesson about ancient Egypt can literally come alive when a student puts on a VR headset and walks around a digital version of the time period. Students can experience hard-to-conceptualize current-day topics through extended reality, such as walking among camps of Syrian refugees. This technology enables learning by doing through visualization. Recent analytics predict the total value of AR in education is expected to reach $5.3 billion by 2023.
The education industry has a lot of data to store. Blockchain is a major unexpected technology that is making breakthrough changes in the education sector. The Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) from blockchain brings a great deal to storage. Blockchain can secure all the data kept and exchanged like student records, all the educational materials, certificates, and so on. . Blockchain technology makes the storage technically limitless with transacting data decentralized and transparent. Though blockchain has been mainly associated with cryptocurrency , it can be applied to education in a way other than data storage. Online courses can be programmed into the blockchain. For instance, due to the blockchain’s smart contracts, the completion of all the tasks set up by educators can be verified automatically and the independent teachers could even receive fee with crypto.
AI based Chatbots
Chatbots can deliver lectures via conversational messages and engage students in learning with a communication tool they have become quite comfortable with According to the predictions, 47% of organizations are going to integrate and use AI-based chatbots soon. Besides that, they play a key role in LXP (learning experience platform) solutions that are used for discovering professional learning opportunities as well as delivering more personalized learning content. AI chatbots integrated into the educational process can automate the basic activities in education like checking tests and grading. They can also provide 24/7 assistance to the students with custom tailored guidance through additional educational materials. Ultimately, if chatbots can make the learning process more engaging for students and reduce the workload on human educators, their use in education will continue to grow. This covers just some of current trends in educational tech and SaaS and how to take advantage of them.
Smartphones are the gift the 21st century gave to people. The children of today are digital natives. Children know more about technology by seven years old than their parents do! Henceforth, availing education through mobile technology is what is trending in the Covid-19 world. Education has become more mobile throughout 2020 and will become even more so through 2021. Students have folders on their iPhones labeled “Education” just keeping their Google Classroom, Google Docs, and Google Sheets in. This folder allows students to consume the necessary information wherever they are.
Personalized and adaptive learning
Personalized learning is the core to 21stcentury education. Online learning platforms offer a flexible learning environment by empowering students to learn at their own pace and help educators to make learning more engaging and collaborative by leveraging digital tools. Adaptive learning provides study material based on the student’s proficiency and their knowledge level. With the help of adaptive tests, teachers can figure out the challenges that each student faces and can work on those to iron out the difficult areas. Adaptive learning ensures that students are engaged in learning to bring out the best results.
Robotics is gaining wide acceptance in K-12 education. Developing and coding robots help students to fine-tune their understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts, alongside developing 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity.
Artificial intelligence is the core of EdTech. AI has availed millions of use cases across multiple sectors and a considerable amount to education as well. Artificial intelligence-enabled student monitoring, attendance tracking and examination proctoring have made virtual learning transparent for all stakeholders. For example, face recognition technology is used to take attendance by recognizing students face automatically. AI enables a list of features in exam monitoring. It identifies cheating during online exams and conducts online invigilation through AI-powered auto proctoring. Today’s tests, the online assessments, are customizable, flexible, secure, interactive, and simple to deliver.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many educational institutions have been running classes in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Virtual classroom-enabled online lectures are gaining popularity by empowering students to learn from any part of the world and choose the educational institution of their choice. News School report findings show that most teachers (85%) and principals (96%) fully or somewhat support the increased use of such tools in their school. However, somewhat surprisingly, more principals (71%) than teachers (53%) fully support the increased use of digital and online learning. Not only does it create a real classroom-like learning environment at home, but it also empowers teachers to control and manage academic operations from the comfort of their homes.
When the classes go boring for a long time, conducting games is a good way to engage with students. Games are expected to enrich the learning process. In the modern age, when it is big trouble to make students attend classes, educators can boost student engagement and encourage active learning through games. Online games are further easy and accessible as they embrace every individual’s interest. Adding gaming elements or turning the lesson into a video game helps to create a positive learning environment.
Personalized and inclusive education
Today's classrooms are diverse and complex, and access to technology helps better meet each student's needs. 35% of educators agree that online digital learning tools allow for personalized instruction based on students’ skill levels. Educators select those tools that meet the most important criteria for use in the classroom. Technological tools can free teachers up from administrative tasks such as grading and testing to develop individual student relationships. One of the most exciting and important results of the educational technology boom is that it provides access to all learners, including those with disabilities. EdTech brings lots of benefits to students with special needs. For example, electronic worksheets help those with fine motor skill impairment. Audio recordings and text-to-speech to assist visually impaired, hearing impaired or dyslexic students. Video recording can restructure lessons to help students with behavioral or attention issues, for example, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). One-to-one devices reduce the negative effects of studying on those with mobility impairments and allows students to self-pace.
To conclude , the newer trends should be able to support the needs of education sector globally to provide the best quality education to students. I hope you have a better understanding of the current trends in educational tech and SaaS and why they are important. It is the outreach though technology solutions that the next generation can cause a greater impact in years to come.
About the Author: Suresh Madhuvarsu is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He is the Managing Partner of Product10x Accelerator, a SaaS accelerator that helps founders build and launch successful startups. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Salestable, a purpose-built sales readiness platform for SMBs.
Suresh has over 20 years of experience in the technology/SaaS industry. He is a 4x founder with 2 exits. He is also an active angel investor and mentor to early-stage startups. Suresh is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses. He believes that technology can be used to solve real-world problems and improve people's lives.
About Product10x: Product10x is a SaaS accelerator that helps founders build and launch successful startups. The accelerator is run by experienced operating partners who have "been there and done that." Product10x provides founders with mentorship, advisory, and access to a network of investors and partners. The accelerator focuses on Product Led Growth (PLG), Sales readiness, and Fundraise readiness, helping founders all the way from product to go-to-market.