The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the education system across the world and forced educators to completely change the way they teach.
Now, more school systems and universities are seeking education technology, or EdTech, to increase student performance and reduce the teaching burden.
The current focus is on distance learning systems that allow grade-school and college students to learn from home.
But there are many other areas in which software is revolutionizing the education sector.
Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs who can meet the growing need for EdTech.
EdTech to Increase Student Performance
New technologies have opened up new and improved ways for students to learn. Chalkboards and whiteboards are being replaced by digital screens, and textbooks have given way to laptops, tablets, and eLearning systems.
All this technology enables students to learn in the way that they best absorb and retain knowledge. EdTech also fosters increased collaboration, better student engagement, and higher grades.
When combined, all the different areas that EdTech enables—greater collaboration, tailored learning, meaningful student data—combine to foster greater student engagement with teachers, classmates, and the curriculum. By making it easier to learn, education solutions help make it more exciting to learn.
And that’s exactly why school systems and universities are hungry for education software. State and federal governments are mandating greater accountability from schools. This has forced schools to seek new ways to engage students and increase test scores.
But which technologies are in the most demand? Here’s an overview of a few key EdTech areas worth exploring.
The internet makes it easier for students to access information anytime, anywhere—which proved especially useful during the pandemic. Educators seek solutions that allow students to share a virtual classroom experience. With cloud technology allowing students to work on and turn in assignments just as they’re in school, EdTech gives students access to all the information they need to keep learning when they can’t be in a physical classroom.
“Flipping” The Classroom
Traditionally, teachers would lecture students in the classroom, and students would complete homework after school. EdTech turns that on its head. Students can now watch lesson videos outside the classroom and use in-class time to work with teachers and other students on completing assignments.
In this way, EdTech flips the traditional classroom experience to make it focused on collaboration between students and teachers. Collaborative learning helps foster socialization skills, self-teaching, and greater creativity.
As more educators move toward flipped classrooms, they seek cloud-based EdTech to enable students working together with learning games and online lessons. They want solutions that make it student-teacher communication easier, allowing students to easily upload homework and get the teacher’s help on assignments they’re struggling with.
Educators have recognized that not every student learns the same way. Personalized teaching allows educators to mitigate a student’s learning difficulties with customized lessons based on that student’s strengths, skills, and interests.
Analytic tools designed specifically for teachers can help them see which students are struggling with a concept or lesson, enabling them to intervene with additional support.
EdTech to Solve Teaching Challenges
Even before the pandemic, teachers were spending more time on school tasks—lesson prep, test creation, grading papers, and so on. Shrinking school budgets have forced many teachers to shop for their own classroom supplies, as well, adding another task to their growing list.
These increasing demands have led to widespread burnout, causing many teachers to leave the profession. The remaining teachers have been forced to take on more classes, increasing the pace of burnout and creating a vicious cycle.
Educators seek cost-effective ways to reduce teacher burnout and prevent further shrinkage of their teaching staff. Entrepreneurs who provide innovative solutions to the teacher burnout crisis will be welcomed with open arms.
Grading papers is one time-consuming burden for teachers. Many take student assignments home to grade, forcing them to give up personal and family time.
EdTech that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can lift much of this grading burden off teachers’ shoulders, giving them back the personal time they need to relax and recharge.
Solutions that utilize sophisticated AI technology could help automate grading not only for multiple-choice and true/false answer, but could also cross-reference short answer or essay question responses with a cloud database to determine if the answer is correct.
Many teachers spend hours at the copier printing reams of paper for tests and homework assignments. A solution that replaced this task would not only give these valuable hours back, but would also save money and contribute to a school’s green initiatives.
Remote learning solutions have helped reduce the amount of paper in schools, but there is still a long way to go before classrooms are completely paperless.
As teacher burnout rises, student performance will fall. Sooner or later, schools and educational institutions that cling to traditional teaching methods will be forced to seek EdTech solutions to meet these challenges.
Tech entrepreneurs who understand these challenges and can provide EdTech solutions to overcome them will a hungry, growing market for their products.