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Top EdTech Trends that Ruled 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic played a major role in our shift to digital life. While we were adopting technology gradually, the pandemic certainly forced our hand to adopt it at a rapid pace. Even more so for those who didn’t even think of becoming a part of it. Overnight, things got changed and words like remote/distant became an instant hit. 

Just like many other industries, the education industry too got affected by the pandemic. All the involved stakeholders such as educators, mentors, students, institutional heads had to think on their feet to steer the industry in the pandemic’s wake. They got caught in between the struggling challenges and had to surpass the traditional learning setups to make room for digital tools. Ultimately, they relied on experimenting and finding the perfect ways of incorporating digital technology in their educational pedagogies. 

Despite the challenges, the technology aspect attached to education or EdTech became our ally in the pandemic. It became such a part that the overall market for online education is now projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025

Let’s see what were the trends that contributed and shaped the industry to become this massive.

Remote Learning

Remote learning facilitates learning without having educators or learners physically present at a physical location. This was the most popular and practiced trend in 2020. As per facts, worldwide, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries got affected by school closures due to the pandemic. Remote learning enabled these global learners to take advantage of real-time or recorded sessions coupled with a wide range of media and digital tools enriching the lessons. The power of video conferencing glued educators and learners together while learning management systems and online repositories supported them to collaborate, share files, and most importantly, get feedback. United States Census Bureau noted nearly 93% of people in households with school-age children have reported their children engaged in some form of ‘distance learning’ from home, but lower-income households were less likely to rely on online resources.

Artificial Intelligence

AI-assisted EdTech in automating the basic activities in learning. One prominent example that came out to be was grading. Short answer-type questions, multiple-choice questions (MCQs), fill in the blanks types of queries were handled by the AI. It also displayed an advantage in coming up with results faster than humans. For example, Edgenuity, an online provider of online curriculum and instructional services for the K–12 market, uses AI for the grading systems. It offers over 300 online classes ranging across subjects from math to social studies, AP classes to electives. They’re made up of instructional videos and virtual assignments as well as tests and exams and the platform. Edgenuity provides the lessons and grades the assignments. Over 20,000 schools currently use the platform, according to the company’s website. 

However, the industry will have to be conscious as there have been some controversies regarding the use of AI as a grading system

Internet of Things

Internet is the connective tissue that enabled us to practice remote learning. It made it all possible. It enabled us to replace the traditional chalk, blackboard, pen & paper with digital devices that have become our lifeline. Computers, laptops, mobiles, and tablets facilitated the transfer of information between the stakeholders. IoT ensured our collaboration and sharing of knowledge amongst the learners to complete their assigned tasks. 

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Internet and connected devices, tools were useful in measuring attendance, maintaining social distancing, and monitoring learners whether they were entering schools or homes or exiting them. For instance, educators at Minneapolis Public Schools, are marking which students are participating in remote learning daily and which ones aren’t to help them better address equity and access challenges. 

Rise Digital Devices COVID-19
Rise of digital devices COVID-19. [Source: Rescue Time]

Immersive Learning

Immersive learning refers to creating an artificial environment where learns can apply the learned information to the environment. Flight simulators or virtual dissections are the primary examples of immersive learning. In schools, the traditional ways entail role-plays, field trips, and many other such activities. 

For the U.S. and China, the EdTech platforms in the pandemic witnessed a staggering growth, especially those offering AR & VR immersive experiences with businesses and customers. Strivr, a Palo alto-based company was able to raise $30 million in funding in March. It offers VR-based immersive training and programs for workforces. Neo Bear, a Shanghai-based AR toys and mobile apps company that helps children learn words & languages raised over $56 million.

In the U.S., Immersive VR Education partnered with VictoryXR to bring the latter’s immersive learning content on Immersive’s engagement platform. The collaboration helped teachers to run virtual live classes.

Eon Reality and Veative Labs also made their resources free in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers, educators, employees, employers were granted access to use the platform’s basic features until the pandemic is over. 

Microlearning

Microlearning is the practice of creating short lessons packed with relevant information. The information is meant to ingest in steps in smaller quantities. It is implemented through, short tasks, short videos, infographics, podcasts, or some combination of these. While practicing social distancing and learning remotely, microlearning assisted in maintaining student’s motivation and keeping them engaged. 

While YouTube has been the king when it comes to learning via videos, TikTok emerged as the new player delivering short learning videos. The short video platform garnered over seven billion views with its campaign #LearnOnTikTok. The platform also become a host to hundreds of experts and institutions to produce educational content. 

The emergence of the pandemic unveiled new insights about the state of technology in education. A report by Promethean says that the education system is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and making effective EdTech investments will be critical in the years ahead. While the development seems advantageous, all involved stakeholders must be prepared for the challenges coming alongside the adoption of educational technology. These trends have certainly brought technology-related challenges up close towards us. The forthcoming years will be built upon these challenges and will take educational technology to new heights. 

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