While there’s no doubt that the use of technology in classrooms and learning environments has grown steadily over time, the pandemic was the event that hit the accelerator and brought EdTech to the forefront of every learning environment. The EdTech sector grew by 70% in the UK alone in 2020 as educators rushed to establish quality learning environments for their students remotely.
In a matter of weeks, almost every child in the UK used digital resources to learn. This infrastructure remains in place today, but it’s up to all education stakeholders to ensure this technology develops in a way that makes it an effective tool for all students and a real asset to teachers.
The Future of Technology in Education
Technology has the power to transform the way we learn, but it has to be utilised correctly to make an impact. Children today can pick up a tablet and use it intuitively from a very young age and our students are often going around with their own devices in their pockets. With the right strategy, education technology and digital resources can make teaching and learning easier and more accessible than ever before.
So, what can we expect to see in the future from EdTech?
Innovative Digital Resources
Traditionally, finding the right digital resources involved hours of searching dozens of websites. This requires a lot of over-giving on the part of teachers, leaving them tired with little downtime to destress before the next school day.
By looking to innovation in other industries, EdTech can make things a lot easier for teachers by streamlining the process, making it possible for them to find the resources they need for their next class with a simple search. Not only does this reduce the drain on teachers’ time but it reduces the cost to teachers. Rather than paying for multiple subscriptions, schools and teachers can access thousands of resources under one subscription.
This is exactly what we do here at Pango – we partner with trusted resource creators to unify the distribution of digital content for educators so they can find everything they need in one place. Think Spotify but for education! There’s no need to search numerous websites to find the resources or to struggle to navigate archaic ecosystems; we bring trusted content to a single platform.
EdTech (and what we do here at Pango) has the potential to drastically change the way teachers access content and make their lives significantly easier. So much of what makes a teacher’s job difficult and frustrating is what takes place outside of the classroom in the additional time it takes to mark work and plan lessons. EdTech can turn this time-consuming task into something that is streamlined.
Better Hybrid Learning
Whilst physical classroom attendance will remain one of the best ways for children to learn for the foreseeable future, we will see hybrid learning technology develop further in the future. This will give schools the ability to switch seamlessly between in-person teaching, remote teaching, and hybrid teaching, giving them more flexibility to deliver learning in any circumstances.
Improved hybrid learning can also provide an important bridge for children experiencing extenuating circumstances, such as an illness or family emergencies. Although the experience can’t exactly replicate the in-classroom experience, hybrid learning advances mean children are less likely to fall behind and are still able to access school support.
If you have a room full of 30 students, you’re going to have a room full of people that learn in completely different ways. While one student will be able to listen to you once and retain all the information, another needs to write it down, another needs to be physically engaged with an activity to fully understand the concept, and another finds the noise in the room when you’re doing an activity overwhelming.
While some learning challenges are obvious in the form of diagnosed learning disabilities, most children (and adults) face learning challenges, and not every class will cater well to how they best learn. With the help of technology, schools and teachers can personalise learning for individual students.
We will also likely see AI learning come to education. With AI, educational platforms can learn how a student learns best, delivering them the information they need in a digestible model, though this may not be for some time to come.
Identify the Need for Additional Help
Building on our last point, personalised learning does not have to be reactive - EdTech can help teachers by proactively looking for signs that a student is struggling, whether that be with a certain way of learning, a subject, or an individual topic. Through regular small assessments of how they’re doing, technologies can identify patterns and tell the teacher which student is struggling with what, so they can offer one-on-one support and additional (or different) materials.
AR & VR Learning
Augmented reality and virtual reality still seem somewhat like gimmicks in our everyday lives - while a few of us have VR devices in our homes, we don’t interact with either on an everyday basis.
While AR and VR may not yet be something we utilise for everyday entertainment, they have huge potential to offer immersive experiences in the classroom. AR and VR bypass so many of the challenges we have in keeping students engaged with the learning material - it gives them the opportunity to interact and be immersed in the topic they’re learning about.
Instead of watching videos of other people performing dangerous experiments, students can see what happens right in front of them with AR or put the reaction into motion in VR. The rest of the classroom can stay involved because what the student in control is seeing is displayed up on the screen or via a projector. Imagine history lessons where students don a headset and walk the streets of ancient Rome - there are so many exciting possibilities for the future!
The barriers between where we are and a future where all these possibilities are realised largely come down to cost. Filling a classroom with VR headsets or tablets is a costly exercise, and one not all schools will have the budget to afford. That said, technology always becomes more affordable and more accessible, and there are already many digital resources available at an affordable price point. The future of EdTech will only make education better for educators and students.
While it might be a while before you have a classroom full of VR equipment, there’s no reason to wait for great digital resources to come to you. Pango can help you access outstanding resources from trusted content partners, improving teacher efficiency and student outcomes.