martes, 23 de junio de 2020

Education technology. Coronavirus and beyond

Education technology, or EdTech, is one of the most exciting sectors in the economy, with the potential to impact billions of lives.
We are on the verge of a revolution in the adoption of these technologies, forced on us by Coronavirus. More than 90% of the world’s school and university students have been undertaking classes from home through digital tools – many for the first time – and educators have shifted to digital delivery of education literally overnight.The process to online education has not been seamless. Educators, schools, and university systems have not been trained to use these technologies, and many have tried to replicate the classroom through videoconferencing and sending homework via email.
The crisis has exposed a digital divide, in both developed and developing countries. The gap between students with fast broadband, their own laptop and a supportive home learning environment, and those without, is painfully clear.
But the Coronavirus pandemic, while causing so much tragedy and loss of life, has also planted the seeds of a new type of learning model for coming decades – one that will be very different from that which has been operating largely unchanged for thousands of years.
Access to quality education is the fourth of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities. The benefits of a good education are obvious – opens up work opportunities and career paths and links to higher wages, better health, and general life satisfaction. Education also supports economic development – it’s no surprise that there is a strong, positive association between the average number of years in schools and a country’s GDP. 1
In recent years, governments and innovators have invested billions of dollars into the education sector, and EdTech has gained traction. Online learning apps, for example, now have hundreds of millions of users. Other forms of EdTech, such as curriculum management software, e-textbooks, communications and administration platforms have become more effective, while the costs of devices and internet data required to use them have plummeted.
Gamification and the use of adaptive learning are creating engaging and personalized learning journeys for students. Classrooms are starting to adopt these technologies, and teachers and students are increasingly able and willing to make use of them. Pre Coronavirus, EdTech expenditure was forecast to grow at 15% CAGR 2019-2025 and reach USD 400bn+ by 2025. And then Coronavirus hit.
It forced the world’s school and university students and educators to switch to remote learning overnight. We have seen an unprecedented experiment in the rapid adoption of online learning, and an enormous investment in hardware, software, content and training to implement these digital learning environments.
The Coronavirus crisis has exposed the digital divide, both in developed and developing countries. It has become painfully clear that many low-income students not only lack the devices and internet access required to participate in online learning programs, but also lack a suitable home environment. Governments, educational institutions, telecom companies and EdTech providers have scrambled to ensure these students are able to participate online alongside their classmates. The crisis is likely to drive major 1
Hanushek E.A., Wößmann L., Education and Economic Growth, Elsevier Ltd., 2010expenditures in hardware and internet access to support online learning as we address this digital divide. There are tremendous opportunities to invest into EdTech, with strong growth in both venture capital and listed equity. The Coronavirus pandemic will accelerate investment, with many EdTech companies bringing forward investments into new functionalities. This investment will only continue, as educators and administrators recognise that many of these applications are more effective than traditional learning models. To support modern teaching methods these applications should be integrated into the classroom and university seminar room when students return in person.

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