7 min read

Edtech: Digitalizing Education

Oct 25, 2021 8:00:00 AM

As parents will know, education has changed radically since our childhoods. While millennials may recall a time when they got reprimanded for bringing a phone to class, tablets are now the norm in classrooms - acting as interactive educational tools. IT classes are now coding lessons, and the old "school computer" has been replaced by personal laptops. 

This is not the case in every school, even within the United States, but there's no doubt that education is now more technologically advanced than it ever was. The fact that an unequal divide remains represents an opportunity for education providers to grow further into the digital space. 

There are also exciting developments in education technology (edtech), where new products are constantly emerging. As such, the $75bn global edtech market is enjoying a rapid rise, with experts predicting 19.9% year-on-year growth into the next decade - and reaching $318.8bn by 2027.  

The overriding trend in edtech is in personalized education tools designed to support users beyond the classroom. Language apps, online tutoring platforms, vast e-textbook libraries, and so on. Covid-19 has also done its bit to accelerate innovation, with schools being forced to switch to remote teaching and needing to use dedicated tools to reach out to students. 

Let's take a look at how the world of education is changing around us: 

Emerging Edtech Trends 

Though edtech was already booming pre-Covid, the pandemic has undoubtedly sparked a renewed surge in growth. The next decade is set to be an exciting period of innovation in education. Despite plenty of unknowns, there have been some notable trends emerging, and here's a few of them: 

Learning Management Systems 

Learning management systems (LMS) has been around for more than two decades, but they are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. The tool is largely responsible for facilitating remote learning during the pandemic, and it is designed to help educators do their job. The software acts as an organizational portal where educators and students can access the resources they need.  

LMS also stores data, which can help assess the performance of students and which styles of learning they respond to. In essence, it is an education hub, but online.  

This software is also used by corporations and HR teams, enabling them to manage onboarding processes and advance their employees' skillset. 

The trend here is that learning management systems are set to become even more advanced as the tech world learns to master the art of managing data. With each coming year, we expect to see the capabilities of LMS increase and, by the end of the decade, can support educators in ways we cannot yet imagine. 

More Interactive Learning 

Though remote learning has been a ground-breaking innovation, with Zoom, Google Meets, and other such platforms filling the void of classrooms, the emergence of "Zoom fatigue" has been a concern. People, particularly young students, need to feel stimulated and engaged when they are learning.  

Products that help to support interactive learning are predicted to do well. One genre that falls under the broader banner is gamification, which takes a game elements-based approach to learning. The principle behind this is that learners learn more when they are having fun.  

Examples of gamification could include: 

  • Quizzes 
  • Team building activities 
  • Roleplay 
  • Scenario-based learning with game elements 
  • Points for academic achievements 

The important thing here is not to confuse it with a games-based approach, which involves exclusively games. The idea behind gamification is to bring the elements of games into the wider learning schedule, with points on offer for certain achievements or teamwork activities. 

As a concept, gamification has been around for some time, but it is increasingly incorporating technology to take interactive learning to the next level. For example, Finnish startup Seppo, a leading gamification platform, enables educators to build game elements into their lessons. The appeal of using such a platform is that teachers can track students' performance without any bias and, once set up, these elements can be used again and again. 

In essence, technology can be used as a time-saving hack for educators, track performance more accurately, and make gamification reusable. 

Personalized Learning 

One of the biggest advances in the next decade will be in the field of personalized learning. It has already been happening with online courses that people can sign up to learn at their own pace. Learners can also pick their own modules to focus on and develop specialist knowledge. 

The success of Masterclass is a prime example of where the hunger to learn from the best in business is being fulfilled.  

However, personalized learning within a classroom environment is a different challenge altogether. Most teachers will have experienced dealing with students of varying abilities in any given subject, and technology can help here too. 

Platforms like Knewton using adaptive technology to understand the individual student's needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Educators can utilize that information to help tailor lessons to the class's abilities, varying within the lesson if necessary. 

APIs can Drive Edtech 

Any educational organization will use a broad range of technological tools to aid educators in delivering the best possible learning experience. This means it is crucial to integrate the different platforms and software in order to maximize the potential edtech has to offer. 

It is also critical to understand that edtech will not replace the human touch educators bring to learning. Instead, it will ultimately provide those educators with invaluable support mechanisms and deliver the best possible education to students and other learners. 

Bringing together all the data and information edtech throws up is a formidable challenge, and using APIs will help your organization manage the flow of that information. Additionally, APIs act as gatekeepers of tech, filtering out the data a software doesn’t need and reformatting it so it can be used effectively.  

In short, APIs are the engines that make edtech work for your organization and helps to streamline the learning experience of students. With Universal Adapter’s advanced API management platform, you can optimize the engine room to fully utilize the power of edtech. 

Peter Edlund

Written by Peter Edlund