Education is an institution that has remained largely unchanged for decades. Technology is here to change that. But what is EdTech?
EdTech stands for Education Technology. It’s the use of technology to improve how we consume, access, facilitate, and disseminate education. Many agree that the current education system and approaches to education have their shortcomings. Now, due to mass saturation and low-cost of technology, entrepreneurs are leveraging the potential of technology to innovate new approaches to learning. Whether it’s the gamification of learning through virtual reality techniques, hosting entire degree programs online, or facilitating better parent-teacher communication through online platforms, EdTech has already made some impressive strides toward bringing education closer to the digital era. Here are a few examples of EdTech to shed some light on the tech revolution:
Massive open online courses
A notable example of EdTech that you might’ve heard of or even participated in are massive open online courses offered by services such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy. This is when anyone from anywhere can take an online course. There’s no geographic or physical limitations. You can take these courses from anywhere in the world and an unlimited number of students can participate. It has been revolutionary in its ability to bring education to places and people that have limited access and opportunity.
Learning management systems
We all rightfully focus on the quality of the education to be delivered but what about all the work that goes into delivering education? That’s where a learning management system comes in. If you’re a student, you’re likely already using a form of this. An open-source example is Moodle which is widely used here in Austria. These systems help teachers to track progress, deliver assignments, and manage students. This makes the administrative aspect of a teacher’s life easier allowing them to focus on the most important part of education: teaching.
Also known as social learning, this is the use of technological solutions to facilitate peer-to-peer learning among students. It is based on the fundamental idea that the best way to learn is to teach what you know to others. Collaborative learning can take the form of wikis, blogs, videos or podcasts with the ultimate goal being the creation of a community whose organizational focus is learning. In this context, a teacher would act more as a facilitator.
As you can see, there are many applications that exist under the umbrella of EdTech. New technological solutions are being worked on every day and with each iteration, they will only get better and better. It is the new frontier in the field of education and while the solutions hold great promise, we should keep in mind that technology will not solve every problem. These solutions might not be the preferred way of learning for all students. Sometimes, being face-to-face with a person who is focused on you and giving you their attention is what a student needs. This has value and this kind of experience can never be replaced by technology.
Header Image provided by: Lea Fabienne