Trends in Educational Technology for 2020
What are the biggest educational technology trends we’ll see heading into the next decade? We’re here to give you the inside scoop so you know what to pay attention to in 2020 and beyond. From artificial intelligence to video based learning to wellness tech, the emerging edtech trends have a lot in store for teachers and students alike.
The online learning space is evolving rapidly, and edtech is a big part of that. In Australia, we’re now seeing everything from web-based school management platforms like Compass, tutoring platforms like Cluey, open marketplaces for MOOCs like Open Learning, ICT infrastructure solutions for schools like Critical Links, 3D printing training providers like YSoft’s be3D Academy, and mobile apps like Teach.com.au. These products and services make life easier for teachers and students, promoting engagement, collaboration, communication, and efficiency.
According to a recent survey by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 83 percent of teachers are optimistic about the potential of technology to expand teacher capacity. At the same time, half of those surveyed reported a lack of time to implement that technology into their instruction, as well as inadequate student access to devices outside the classroom. But we’re starting to see edtech that is designed to tackle these concerns, from easy-to-adopt classroom management platforms to educational apps students can access any time, anywhere.
Edtech in Australia is also a rapidly growing market.
“Over the past few years, more funding has become available for growing Australian EdTech companies, echoing broader sector trends,” writes Peter Sahui, senior associate for Navitas Ventures. “There is real traction to go with the funding dollars, often driven by international expansion. In the last few years, Australian EdTech appears most successful in the post-secondary sector.”
While this may not seem like relevant information for teachers and students, it actually means educational technology will become better, more accessible, and more affordable for your classroom in the near future. Hold tight for a wild ride into the ‘20s.
Top EdTech Trends for 2020
Student and teacher wellness
Teacher burnout and student anxiety aren’t new phenomena, but removing the stigma around them—and seeking tech-based solutions—is relatively new.
Mind Moose is a mobile app designed to teach primary students about mental health. Short animations introduce topics like brain science, self-awareness and self-esteem, managing emotions, solving problems, and developing resilience. Students earn certificates and badges as they progress.
AI will increasingly be used to personalize learning in 2020. For instance, Querium in Austin, TX is using AI to deliver customizable STEM tutoring lessons to high school and uni students. The software works by analysing answers and length of time it took to complete the tutoring sessions, thereby giving teachers insights into areas of weakness for students. Kidaptive’s Adaptive Learning Platform in Redwood City, California uses AI algorithms to help schools collect data and boost student engagement. New challenges are introduced to students based on their strengths and weaknesses, and predictions are made on future performance based on current learning patterns.
Video based learning
Video-based learning is becoming increasingly popular with younger generations. In fact, Youtube is the preferred educational medium of Generation Z. Teachers can use not only Youtube but Teachertube and BrainPop to use or create instructional videos on various subjects, either to supplement or present new material. Video-based learning can be especially useful for background information or material that normally would take a lot of time to learn by reading a textbook. If student motivation is lagging for an assignment, default to video if you can.
FERPA, COPPA, and SHERPA have established data privacy standards that edtech companies must follow to keep student data safe, but what does this mean for teachers? Faud Khan, CEO of Twelvedot, wants to remind educators that “compliance does not equal security.” EdTech companies must take responsibility and ensure that student data is used according to law:
“EdTech companies must build a culture of security because, ‘schools and government will never be agile enough or have the resources to stay on top of it. It is the responsibility of the EdTech companies to ensure data security and they must take this responsibility seriously.’”
Note to educators: Choose your edtech companies based on commitment to data privacy.
Collaborative edtech tools are supporting online learning through chatbots; platforms and apps that promote peer-to-peer engagement; and groups, blogs, and wikis. Students can use chat tools they already know like Facebook, WhatsApp, or Skype—or they can use chatbots like Google Allo for a more personalized online learning experience, as a source of social learning, to save teachers time, and for online assessments.
To collaborate during lessons, students are using Google Apps for Education, Recap, TalkBoard, GoSoapBox, and Padlet. Groups can be created in Learning Management Systems to boost engagement between students, to help teachers moderate online discussions, and to give and receive feedback.
Seattle-based Doghead Simulations has created a social virtual reality software called rumii that works with Oculus Go VR headsets to transport students to East China or Northern Africa to learn about the Pyramids or the Great Wall. A Penn State University study found that “students who used immersive virtual reality to accomplish a task did so more than twice as fast as students who used traditional computer programs.”
Mixed reality will be used to enhance the online learning experience more and more. Expect demand for these virtual yet social environments, which allow students to raise their hands, ask questions in an organic way, and feel more invested in their studies.
A recent study by Stanford researchers found that VR field trips about climate change resulted in “participants who explored more of the virtual space formed deeper cognitive associations with the science content and could learn, recall and retain the causes and effects of ocean acidification better than those who did not explore the underwater world as much.”
A mix of on-campus and off-campus learning will become more popular in the next decade as people try to balance digital connection with human connection. Digital technologies for online learning will become more advanced, leading to higher quality online learning sessions, which means, ironically, more time can be spent face-to-face again. Teachers become more facilitators than instructors in a blended learning environment, which means students can empower themselves to learn and continue learning even after their formal studies are over.
Before long, predictive analysis will be able to tell us about a student’s academic future. Teachers will be able to target students who may be at risk for dropping out of a course, which may be especially useful for online course providers. Improving student results and customizing programs are promising facets of machine learning as well. For instance, Netex Learning is a machine-learning-enabled web platform that lets tutors design a curriculum for the day. Teachers can create plans around content which includes videos, audio, personalized assignments, and discussion portals.
Online learning platforms like Open Colleges’ Open Space are designed to make learning more convenient for students. With a tool like Open Space, you can access all your course materials, submit assignments, receive feedback, and check your grades all in one place. It’s convenient and easy to use, and comes with a support network of educators and peers to help egg you on when you need a motivation boost.
Edtech is having a major growth spurt, especially in Australia. Fortunately for teachers and students, this means better education delivered more efficiently, when and where you like. Staying abreast of the latest trends going into the next decade isn’t such a burden when more and more of that technology is designed to keep you informed in a way that respects your time and energy. In the next decade, educational technology will not only make learning easier, but will be easier to learn. Stay tuned.