5 Edtech Trends to Look Out for in 2018

Remember the time when you sat in class and the teacher wrote on the blackboard with a screeching white chalk? Those days are gone. Well almost! Today the education sector in India has taken a more interactive approach. The rapid digitization, coupled with increasing internet speed, has led to growth of e-learning in India. With over 400 million primary and secondary students, Indian startups are working towards creating micro-learning facilities that will give learners easy access to quality education. As per a recent study by KPMG and Google, online education in India is likely to experience 8x growth in the next five years, potentially touching $1.96 billion by 2021. Given this fact, significant investment is expected, especially in edtechs that can enable easy sharing of information, email collaboration and anytime-anywhere access to learning programs. As new solutions and systems are heavily being focused on, Embee takes a look at the edtech trends of 2018.

Here are the 5 tech trends that are most likely to impact the education industry in 2018:

1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) enables immersive learning experience:

Passive teaching techniques have long been known to have a concept retention rate of even lesser than 30%, whereas participatory techniques have a concept retention rate of 90%. Where India’s conventional teaching methods fail is in the fact that it remains focused on outdated practices that emphasize one-sides knowledge impartment, restricted student participation, thereby limiting the retention rate to a bare minimum.
The issue is being actively addressed by technology, specifically Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Building on the concept of experiential learning, these technologies provide students with an immersive, first-hand experience through graphical simulation. VR enables learners to experience key educational events and locations, replete with senses of touch, smell and sound, without having to leave the safety of the classroom.

VR has been around in the educational environment for some time now, but its potential is yet to be explored deeply. This video explains just a few ways in which VR can be beneficial for education:

AR technology, on the other hand, renders hard-to-imagine objects into 3D models, thus making it easier for learners to grasp abstract and difficult concepts and enhances their ability to conduct complex calculations. This is especially helpful for students who depend heavily on visual. Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal integrates AR into math lessons and students report it as helpful, easy and interesting.

2. Gamification boosts students’ motivation and increases participation:

General lack of student motivation, as reflected in the alarmingly high school dropout rates, is a growing concern all over the world. This is often attributed to systematic flaws in the current educational system and stringent teaching methods. Gamifying teaching and learning methods can improve retention by boosting students’ motivation and ultimately help them gain knowledge.

While educational theorists discuss the effectiveness of various gamification methods, 62% students are motivated by leader boards and 89% said that a point system would increase their engagement with an e-learning application. Since today’s learners are used to smartphones and video games, using apps to boost their interest, engagement and ultimately help them to learn more only makes sense. Apps like Socrative, Kahoot, Play Brighter, Classcraft, Goose Chase and more use customizable avatars and user interfaces, leaderboards, quizzes, puzzles, riddles and ciphers to encourage learning, participation, team-building and competition. Even though gamification has been widely used in other sectors, especially event and conferences, Embee thinks in 2018, it is going to largely redefine the teaching-learning process.

3. Cloud-based technology makes quality education easily accessible:

Cloud offers significant potential in changing how education as an industry works. Cloud-classrooms have made anywhere-anytime knowledge accessible to students. Cloud-based communication and collaboration apps enable instant messaging and video calling even in the remotest of villages. Group activities are made more immersive and effective with cross-border collaboration where students can share assignments with teachers in an easy and trackable manner.

In India, where textbooks are still deemed expensive and students often have to make do with books that have outdated information, schools are leveraging Cloud-based study materials that can be updated in real time. With digital content, institutions are going beyond textbooks, and borders, to ensure that their students are a part of the global learning community. Cloud-based apps don’t just facilitate unlimited storage with instant access but also make sure that the files are available only to the right people with strong authentication features.

In this video, Microsoft explains how Cloud technology is transforming education across multiple schools, communities and thousands of kilometers in Australia:

4. Data Analytics makes way for new teaching methodologies:

Data Analytics will empower educators with new teaching methodologies and the process to achieve that goal is already underway. In the recent past, HP collaborated with an NGO, Akshara Foundation, to see how the educational experience in Karnataka can be improved. Akshara collected primary data relating to resources, facilities, boy-girl pupil ratio, dropout rates and various other records of more than 40,000 schools. Despite the data being disjointed and fragmented in many cases, data scientists were able to derive critical observations from it, which were used to design solutions to existing problems in the sector. Mckinsey also leveraged advanced analytics and machine learning to identify factors that are critical to student achievement. These include how having the right mindsets is more important than socioeconomic background and how students who receive a mix of teacher-directed and inquiry-based instruction achieve better results.

Source: Mckinsey

Embee thinks data analytics can be a foundational tool for informed change in education. While there have been calls for educational reforms over the past decade, there needs to be a solid foundation, on which the reform activities can be based. In education, learning analytics will serve the role of decision foundation. With a comprehensive understanding of the learning process, the inputs, the outputs, the factors that contribute to learner success, evaluation of learners, educators can make informed decisions as far as designing effective curriculum, delivering it, assessing individual student growth, provide support, allocating resources, reducing dropout rates, etc. are concerned.

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) shifts the focus from collective learning to individual learning:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is redefining instructive education. AI-driven algorithms create behavioural models by analyzing each data set such as behavioral models, progress reports, and annual results. Based on these models, AI develops a deeper understanding of a student’s strengths and weaknesses and designs a personalized learning curve that is unique to each student helping the student to learn at an optimal speed and deliver the best results. With Intelligent tutoring systems like Carnegie Learning or Third Space Learning educators are already breaking free from the “one size fits all” approach and focusing on individual attention. And who can forget Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel’s AI teaching assistant Jill Watson?

The increasing impact of edtech today is offering us a quick glimpse of a gradually evolving realm of unimpeded learning. Today, while India struggles to reform an outmoded education system, imagine the wonders that tomorrow’s generation can accomplish with technologies like Artificial Intelligence. Educators, at least some of them, might be apprehensive about instituting large systemic changes, but Embee firmly believes it would be unwise to ignore the possibilities that edtech offers, especially if improving the teaching-learning experience is the ultimate goal. As these techs witness increased adoption, we probably won’t have to wait for too long to see the results.

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