The education sector has been heavily revamped with the intervention of technology. In fact, education is one of the sectors that has been under constant changes since time immemorial and rightly so.
Learning and teaching methodologies have been largely inspired by the geographical, socio-political, and historical incidents and have been contributing towards creating a very diverse and geo-specific conditioning.
Till the arrival of the 20th century, education practices across the globe were significantly varied and there was a large divide between the education that could be acquired in different continents and countries.
Today, however, this isn’t the case. While education standards might be rated against each other and some countries, universities, and continents might weigh higher than the rest, technology has brought the best of the knowledge sources to the doorstep of students globally, no matter where they are located.
This credit of democratizing education largely goes to technology and the world wide web that has made education more accessible and learning more fun. And as EdTech is widely being promoted to break the barriers towards world-class learning, will it replace the conventional classroom learning altogether is the discussion that has been in the air for quite some time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the dynamics of the world, where remote learning became a dire need to ensure continuity to education, several opinions are surfacing around EdTech. For More Info check out JotForm’s guide on school reopening
Conventional Education: The rights and the wrongs
For years after the formal education systems were introduced, the students across the globe relied on conventional classroom and blackboard based learning. Evolving over the years, traditional classroom education was bounded by the physical boundaries of schools, and the limitations of the teacher or educator were reflected in the learning of the students.
The students could only learn as much as the teacher would know and that was that. The responsibility to further enhance the knowledge was of the students and the parent and this created a big divide between the students across the globe. Clearly, the students that had access to better teachers and educational infrastructure did better than the ones who did not.
The conventional education system was difficult to update and upgrade and further refrained the students from limitless learning. The traditional classrooms were also more theory-oriented and relied on the students’ ability to read and listen as opposed to understanding, which created a learning gap for students with learning disabilities and special needs. The technological intervention was hence imperative in education across the globe.
Arrival of EdTech
While EdTech has been around for quite some time now, never has it gained so much traction as today. With the millennial generation now knocking doors for job opportunities and the Gen Z following suit, it became evident that technological reform was needed early on in the education system to accommodate the needs of modern enterprises.
EdTech gained more popularity because of the accessibility and availability of smartphones, tablets, and laptops that were earlier limited to only a certain sect of the society.
Despite businesses taking a plunge to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19, EdTech investments are all-time high and according to Crunchbase, global venture funding for EdTech companies reached USD 4.1 billion between the period of January to July 2020. Schools are now looking to invest heavily in EdTech solutions to enhance the learning experience as well as facilitate distance learning.
EdTech: Why schools and parents are moving towards EdTech
The Pros of EdTech are surrounded by the interactive learning experience ushered in by EdTech. The blackboard oriented learning is not holistic, to say the least, and EdTech brings in the much-needed interaction powered by graphics, videos, pictures and sounds to enhance the learning experience.
EdTech helps in bringing the fun back to learning and students, especially for young kids. Instead of the monotonous reading and writing, EdTech apps help in grasping the focus of attention-deficient generation of students and keeps them hooked to the activity with animated reading and storytelling.
The ‘one size fits all’ principle is especially harmful for education considering that students with different learning capabilities and diverse strengths are subjected to the same curriculum. While some kids learn better with visuals, some are great at listening to classes, some perform better with practical examples while some need a lot of writing and note-making to get clarity over the subject.
EdTech can help in customizing the experience tailor-made for each student or student group. Several EdTech platforms offer the capability to create quizzes, surveys, and other fun activities that can be designed by the teachers using readymade templates. This comes handy for offering a more personalized learning experience, which is crucial for students as well as parents today.
Access to information is also streamlined, thanks to the sea of information available at the fingertips with Google and other search engines. Instead of scrolling through a pile of papers, notes, and books, students can quickly check facts, find references and sources by typing the right search query. These research skills also come in handy and help the students be future-ready, where practically, everything for work or personal lie is Googled.
EdTech is modern and helps prepare the students for the skillsets they need when they are ready to enter the job market. Students no longer need to have meticulous handwriting (no one writes anything anymore), long essays are replaced with 150 character tweets and language, grammar and punctuation are auto-checked by a plethora of tools available at no or low price. EdTech instead helps in developing the problem-solving, logic, and research capabilities of the students and prepares them for what lies ahead in a highly digital world.
Is EdTech replacing classroom learning?
Not everything is rosy with EdTech. With a generation of screen-fixated kids, moving the entire education and learning onto a digital device with a flashy bright screen, and hyper-interactive videos and images are not appreciated by several parents.
There’s a large subset of parents that would rather have their kids spending time out in the open, on the playground. The health concerns around extended screen usage are serious, preventing the EdTech from being accepted widely.
Inviting technology into learning also means that parents and schools have to invest in modern digital devices (that are not necessarily subsided) and spend resources in managing, updating, and upgrading the hardware and software. Areas where economic resources are limited limits the popularity of Edtech further.
Combating distractions caused by access to non-educational apps on the digital devices and providing a safe online presence for young kids is yet another concern, which can be however mitigated by a tool dedicated to mobile device management for education.
Most importantly, education or more precisely school is an integral element in a child’s development. This includes interaction with peers, teachers, participation in group activities- sports, arts, and humanities.
A child who is confined to EdTech misses out on practical learning, developing interpersonal and social relationships and this can have a significant impact on the child’s psychological and emotional development. The reality is that a human touch can’t be replaced with technology.
EdTech is a boon to replace outdated educational practices and is great for enabling boundless educational opportunities. But EdTech doesn’t seem likely to replace classroom learning completely, especially after the pandemic when things return to normalcy. Having a healthy mix of EdTech and classroom learning is the near future.
Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion Mobile Device Management Software. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web-based startups. Renuka is keen in learning new trends surrounding cybersecurity, repercussions of remote working and the evolution of enterprise mobility.