Ever since 2019, and as a result of a global pandemic, the world has seen massive changes across the spectrum. Businesses, for instance, have seen a mass migration online, as a result of health and safety protocols, forcing them to shut down offices and stores. Even schools were forced to resort to online learning because they were unable to host their students in classrooms.
These notable and evident shifts are not just behavioral shifts but are also paradigm shifts. More and more people have become accustomed to doing things differently, that the old way of doing things simply does not satisfy them anymore. Whether the new way is better, faster, more efficient, or they’re simply more comfortable with it, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the paradigm shift is prevalent there.
You see the prominence of this shift with the rise of certain tools, platforms, and practices. For example, the increase in demand for an e-learning platform is evidence of the fact that EdTech, or education technology, is growing in popularity and application. Yes, EdTech has slowly started to take over a lot of the aspects of education, learning support, and collaborative learning. But what is EdTech? What makes up the industry? Who are its most active players? And is EdTech the new paradigm shift?
What is EdTech?
EdTech is an abbreviation for education technology. Technology is a disruptor for a lot of industries. Once introduced into a new industry, the point of technology is to make the end product better for the user or consumer. EdTech, therefore, enhances teacher-led learning in classrooms and improves students' education results. It’s not meant to be a learning replacement, rather a learning support. EdTech provides students and teachers with an e-learning platform in which both parties may convene and partake in collaborative learning.
However, there is more to EdTech than just acting as an online classroom. EdTech has evolved to include more technologies that continue to develop education. Today, an E-learning platform will include several e-learning tools that aim to facilitate education for the student. E-learning tools like Artificial Intelligence, data, and analytics are just some of the technological features we see in EdTech today.
Even innovative learning practices like peer-to-peer learning are evidence of the fact that EdTech goes way beyond just technology input. It opens up the way for innovation and invention for the entire education industry.
What makes up the EdTech industry?
For starters, every e-learning platform that you come across online is part of the overall EdTech umbrella. An e-learning platform helps provide learning support outside of traditional education environments. This learning support seeks to complement traditional education and not replace it.
Other EdTech components are the e-learning tools that are being used online. E-learning tools vary across usage and application. Some of the top e-learning tools are gamification, automation, wearable devices, artificial intelligence, analytics, and authoring tools.
The beauty of e-learning tools is that each one provides a different aspect, and positive impact, on learning support and the education process. For instance, gamification aims to provide learning support by making the educational process more fun and easy through the use of games. Analytics aims to track and provide data so that teachers and schools can get a better understanding of their strengths, skills, and capabilities. We have seen such applications with the e-learning platform Peer Square, which is an EduTech industry changer that offers teachers, and schools insight into their student learning through aggregated data reports.
Peer Square is also an example of another EdTech component which is peer-to-peer learning. Peer-to-peer learning is when students interact and engage with each other to obtain educational goals. Education from peers helps transfer the knowledge in a seamless way, because of the similarity in language, experience, interests, etc. In the case of Peer Square, it provides peer-to-peer learning that creates a collaborative classroom on an e-learning platform.
Who Are EdTech’s Most Active Players?
Every major industry has several players that serve as nodes of success for that industry. In the case of EdTech, one might mistake its player to simply be the students and their teachers. However, that is not the case.
EdTech has a lot of different specialists that seep into its systems, and help make the industry run smoothly. For instance, a major player in the EdTech industry is the technology companies that help create e-learning platforms and provide the e-learning tools that students and teachers use.
Another major player in the research and analytics companies that provide insights into EdTech, the education process, and the information to enhance user experience.
You also have companies that provide online courses and learning support. You have the content creators who create the educational content for the students, the teachers, and the e-learning platform. There is also the sub-community of educators that exist in the peer-to-peer learning environment that you also have to factor in, and take into account.
Is EdTech the New Paradigm Shift?
Once you take everything mentioned above into account, as well as applying some foresight into where the education industry as a whole is headed, it’s pretty hard to make the argument against EdTech being the new paradigm shift.
The technological advancements in the industry coupled with the number of industry players prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a huge wave of momentum behind EdTech. This wave is both of support and popularity. People want to see education immersed with technology, and the plan is to see that vision come to fruition today. The reason why is not only because of the current state of world affairs but because of the benefits of pairing technology with education.
If our kids are our future, then why not equip them with the digital tools that they need to receive a better, modern education. Through EdTech, that’s not only possible, but it’s achievable. Providing the learning support students and teachers need to deliver a better product is not a recommendation, rather a requirement, to mold a better student of tomorrow.