Mar 21, 2018

6 EdTech Trends Educators Should Know About

by Digital Marketing Institute

For the past 150 years, the vast majority of learning models have barely changed, strongly based on a rigid and traditional classroom model. But, edtech is set to change that and could be the biggest and most profitable digitized sector the world has ever known as emerging technologies start to transform learning models.

Education technology is becoming a global phenomenon and a market expected to grow at 17% per year, to $252 bn by 2020 as distribution and platforms scale. While amongst teachers, 86% think it’s essential to use edtech in the classroom, while 96% believe its use increases student engagement.

With such a need for it in the learning landscape, educators need to know the trends making waves in education and those coming down the line. In this article, we explore 7 trends in the edtech sector educators should know about.

1) Data-Driven Institutions

In a customer-centric world, data and big data are proving to be more critical to organizations across industries. Universities, colleges and training providers are making significant progress when it comes to harnessing the power of data to help with retention and student success.

Take Saint Louis University as an example. Keen to drive enrollments and target potential student effectively they analyzed 3-years of its most recent graduating classes and searched for students who graduated with high satisfaction scores.

St. Louis University

What they discovered was that almost half of students had among the highest satisfaction scores and nearly 80% at the top of the list were clustered in a small group of majors: healthcare, business, and STEM.

Armed with this information, the university targeted students in existing and new geographic markets matching the profile of the most satisfied students who recently graduated. When looking through over 120 potential data points, Admissions Officers looked for points of overlap between what potential students wanted and where Saint Louis University succeeded the most. The result was the enrollment of five of the six largest freshmen classes in the university’s history and an increase in graduation rate to 71%.

By leveraging big data, educators can identify areas that are lagging and provide valuable solutions to their student base. By making data-driven decisions, educational offerings can be tailored to meet the needs of particular demographics.

2) Digital curriculum

Digital curriculum

According to Schoology, the second biggest priority for educators is the digitization of curriculum.

As more devices land in the hands of students, access to digital resources is fast-becoming an expectation rather than a luxury. Presently, Learning Management Systems are proving pivotal to encouraging educational digitization while offering notable long-term cost savings, particularly in the corporate environment.

As society becomes increasingly multi-device driven, students or lifelong working professionals demand more freedom and flexibility from their learning, and interactive digitized curriculums will deliver flexibility and access. In tomorrow’s world, digital education will be the order of the day, delivering the most valuable results making including it as an offering vital.

One UK-based university that is leading the way regarding a digital approach to its curriculum is the University of Northampton. Using a fresh initiative it has coined 'active blended learning', the university's new teaching model is dedicated to enhancing face-to-face learning with supported online learning.

In its new Waterside campus, there are no large lecture theatres - instead digitizing much of its curriculum to help offer students a more meaningful, more convenient and more tailored learning environment.

3) Immersive learning

Immersive learning offers an enormous level of learning potential as VR and AR technologies continue to develop and evolve.

Not only do these type of educational experiences help the learner become a part of the narrative, drawing their own conclusions to gain confidence and knowledge, but AR and VR technologies help to simulate real-life situations or scenarios, offering far more value than a traditional classroom setup ever could.

With Google Earth VR and Google Expeditions becoming a bonafide part of the public consciousness, more institutions are using these platforms to enhance their educational offerings.

For example, VR innovator Titans of Space provide a virtual tour of the solar system which teachers are now using to add a whole new dimension of value to their science classes. And as more institutions are using Google Expeditions to offer digital field trips, its usage has hit the one million student mark.

Although VR and AR-based learning is a relatively new concept, early educational adopters of the immersive learning experiences stand to not only attract the most valuable students to their institutions but yield positive results from the kind of technology that places the learner in the heart of a task or concept that would usually only be available to tackle on screen or on paper.

In addition to the virtual field trip, VR or AR learning has also been used improve distance learning outcomes, spark design-based creativity and even teach complex philosophical concepts with the assistance of VR headsets.

4) Mobile tech

The approach to higher education is becoming increasingly mobile, virtualized and geographically dispersed - and this affords organizations the ability to be more collaborative, productive and readily available.

Mobile technology provides instant gratification both regarding classroom-based efforts as well as extracurricular pursuits; it also increases demands on resources and the expectations today's digital learners. The infusion of mobile presents a multitude of opportunities, expanding use cases for how and where people can learn and consume information, thus allowing institutions to learn more about user behavior.

In recent years, many top universities and educational institutions have started to develop mobile apps to enhance the academic lives of both their students and faculty.

A clever initiative comes from the University of Salford. Over a year ago, the Manchester-based institution harnessed the power of mobile technology and its growing demand among the student population by launching its own Tinder-style app. ‘Match Made in Salford’ was designed with the sole purpose of making the clearing process as reassuring and enjoyable as possible by helping potential students find the course of their dreams by using Tinder-like functionality.

This personalized approach to course recruitment was a roaring success, boosting website engagement by over 250% and offers made through clearing by a notable 28%. As a result of its triumph, the mobile application won the 2016 award for best Mobile and App at the Europe-wide Digital Communication Awards.

5) Personalization

Using data and analysis, institutions will be able learn more about their students and personalize the learning experience to make it more engaging and valuable on an individual basis. How educators can obtain practical data is on the rise, as is the flexibility of the tools that serve this purpose, including the likes of Google Analytics, Ubersuggest, and BrandMentions, among others.

74% of consumers get frustrated when they receive content that has nothing to do with their interests. This goes the same for students with busy lives and short attention spans. What data will help do is help gain more focus on how students use data around personal learning journeys to define the goals and directions of their educational paths. When the pace of learning is adjusted to the individual learner, each will have the time they need to demonstrate mastery.

There are a number of platforms geared towards facilitating personalized learning in the classroom - and here are three of the most effective applications available to educators at present:

Seesaw : This platform works as a student-driven digital portfolio that documents student learning with a set of built-in creative tools, providing an authentic and valuable audience for student work. : Based on the notion that every student in every institution should have the chance to grasp the fundamentals of computer science, this robust development offers access to open-ended programs, tutorials, and a full curriculum for personalized learning.

WeVideo: An accessible cloud-based online video editing tool, WeVideo makes it easy for educational institutions to create inspiring and insightful narratives and build a portfolio of visual content tailored to the individual needs of students with ease.

6) Online assessments

New models of technology-centric assessments have facilitated a significant shift from rigid summative assessments. Today, tech-driven tests are at the heart of the learning process, helping to provide more continuous and adaptive formative assessments.

Online assessment solutions are flexible, customizable, interactive, secure and swift to deliver.

The digital world is in constant flux, and the way in which institutions test the skills, knowledge and abilities of learners must evolve to remain valuable and relevant. As online testing models can be changed, amended and improved with relative ease, they stand the very best chance of delivering assessments that are fair and accurate.

For those looking to enhance their edtech offerings through formative online assessments, there are a number of available tools and applications that you can use as an educator. Some of these include:

AnswerGarden: A platform dedicated to online brainstorming or polling. This can be used as a real-time tool to help educators view student feedback on questions.

ClassKick: This particular application allows teachers to post assignments for students, giving both the teacher and their peers to provide feedback on the task at hand.

Quia: A versatile platform on which educators can build engaging games, quizzes, surveys, and more, as well as gaining access to a database of existing examinations from other educators for use or inspiration.

And as more tools emerge, the online assessment could become a standard testing device the world over.

Edtech is not only flexible, interactive, relevant and sustainable when it comes to equipping tomorrow's workforce with the confidence, tools and mindset they need to succeed; it's the only way forward.

Technology-driven education offers an enormous amount of value, delivering today's learners with the content and resources most relevant to their requirements in the most digestible ways possible.

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