Education technology has been a part of our global society for the better part of a decade. Offering students access to online learning, tutoring apps, digital readers and tablets, and gamification, edtech as it is often referred to, is a multi-billion dollar industry. The COVID-19 public health crisis hit hard and fast in early 2020, closing businesses and schools and challenging communities around the world to find innovative ways to persevere. As a result, the edtech industry is stronger and growing faster than ever.
Understanding that learning could not stop, school administrators began researching and devising plans to take the traditional learning experience to a virtual format. The process was not without challenges, and as we have shifted into a new school year, schools continue to struggle to maintain student participation and learning concentrations. Fortunately, we live in a time of immense technological advances, and the edtech companies that were once a second option, or an afterthought, are now in high demand.
Education technology for an improved learning experience
One benefit of education technology is that relevant, applicable content can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Students and families are not only afforded flexibility in time and location with remote learning, but they are also given an opportunity to learn at a pace that works for them. Edtech platforms that include tutoring and personalized lesson plan apps, along with videoconferencing apps surged in the spring of 2020 and data shows that the use of these apps continues to stay strong.
Innovative education technology has improved the student learning experience through data collection and metrics, allowing students, teachers, and parents to identify individual needs. Students are benefiting from this experience as they are given the tools they need to succeed. Many of these edtech platforms also allow students to bolster their skillsets to become stronger assets to the workforce of today, or in the future.
There is an issue of a digital divide where many students do not have access to technology to thrive in a remote learning environment. We have seen communities unite to ensure accessibility for all. Businesses have opened their doors, and their internet, for students to gain access to free Wifi. Community members and business owners have donated actual digital devices so those students who did not previously own a computer or tablet are given one, free of charge. As the need for remote learning continues, communities across the country will work together to ensure no community member is left behind.
Education technology post-COVID-19
Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and there is still looming uncertainty to what our world will look like two, six, or twelve months from now. While many schools across the country have resumed to the traditional in-person format, others are still maintaining strict virtual learning. Some schools have opted for a hybrid of the two. Many parents have major concerns about the health and safety of their families and have completely shifted their students to an online education model.
Long story short, there really is no right answer, and there is no way to know when things will return to “normal”. The rise of the edtech industry will continue to strengthen as sales and usage continue to boom. The edtech companies are well-equipped to assist their customers with problems and concerns as they aim to maintain and grow their client base. The functionality of these platforms is improving with every use.
If done properly, schools and families will find these innovative platforms convenient, flexible, and in line with state and national testing guidelines, as well as an improvement to accommodate individual student needs. Technology has been and continues to be a key factor in maintaining a competitive edge in business and now within our school systems. There is no doubt that we will see these impressive companies expand upon their offerings, work together with education and public policy advocates, and develop quality education so our students, our future workforce, can succeed at every level.