11 Jan 2021 21:34 IST

Ed-tech trends are shaping the future of education

Innovation becomes the differentiating factor as companies compete for a larger market share

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed education, but it has also forced the Ed-tech industry to up its game. Ed-tech emerged to be one of the strongest domains since the start of this worldwide pandemic. Online education has been a familiar term, but 2020 has changed the notion of virtual learning forever. Schools around the world have relied on platforms such as Google Classroom, Moodle, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and several others to teach students. With new Covid-19 cases ramping up, Ed-tech is going to revolutionise the way we learn and remain relevant.

There has been tremendous growth in this area but with companies still competing for a larger market share, there is room for growth. Innovation and research is the driving force for this pervasive and lucrative industry.

Let’s explore five emerging trends in Ed-tech that will  transform the education sector in 2021:

Progressive web apps 

Universities will market themselves differently in 2021 than in the past. Students are dependent on mobile apps now more than ever. They play an important role in admissions, remote learning, student lives, and personal safety and security. With more than 500 screens of various sizes in the market, low cost progressive web apps continue to gain popularity by offering users a unified experience. By providing the same interface in the browser and the native app on the device, it does not require them to download the apps. This eliminates the need to learn more than one interface — an experience that could otherwise be frustrating for the user.

Virtual reality

The technological revolution has permitted the use of innovative and differentiated methods in the teaching-learning process. One of the most conducive technologies to the building tools for education is virtual reality, which offers tri-dimensional computer environments with advanced forms of interaction that provide a higher degree of motivation to learn. The potential of virtual reality are the possibilities of virtual manipulation of targets to explore, analyse, and study, adding to its significance and capability. With virtual reality making a mark, students can discover, explore, interact, and build knowledge about places and situations that they could physically never explore. In 2021, this technology is bound to expand.  

Internet of Things (IoT)

    The Internet of things connects physical items to the world wide web, replacing traditional chalk, blackboard, pens and paper in the classroom. We just need a smartphone with internet to access millions of e-books and other online educational resources. Better communication can easily be enabled between students and professors through phones, tablets and computers. Futuristic technology solutions are represented by interactive displays, like in Promethean learning environments, seen with Blackboard, and campus tools like Magicard, among many others.

    Artificial intelligence, machine learning

    Components like testing and grading can be transformed with the use of AI. Automated algorithms save time by checking assignments faster than any human. The plagiarism checkers used by educational institutions, AI writing assistants, and writing apps, are the perfect examples of the AI impact. It can be used to discover obstacles students face in the learning process, and systemise them to improve the education ecosystem. As customisation grows to be an important educational trend, ML solutions will be efficient and viable.  

    Blockchain

    When we speak of revolution, it is almost unfair to neglect blockchain technology. Within the education sector, blockchain issuing diplomas can be convenient. Credentials stored on a blockchain will surely represent a more viable and ecological alternative to paper copies of a diploma. In addition to being a time-saving solution, it will also enable graduates to send their potential employers a link to quickly review and verify the candidate’s qualification. Digital blockchain-based documents will be a blessing to prevent candidates from submitting fake degrees.

    The future of education is about to witness a significant transformation in 2021, for the better. There are several prominent trends such as Big Data, robotics, and smart assistants, which will complement the journey as well. Ed-tech will no longer remain a buzz word, but rather a vision for the future of education around the world.

    (The author is founder and CEO of career counselling platform Mindler.)

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