13 of the Latest Trends in Educational Technology

By: Keith Krach

Society functions much differently than it did prior to the advent of the digital revolution. New tools, ranging from social media to digital transaction management, have re-contoured the ways in which people interact and do business. The digital age also notably influences how we learn. In fact, the classroom has become one of the most rapidly growing markets for new technology.

Education technology (Ed Tech) includes many of the popular digital developments, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR), but it has unique applications exclusive to the task of teaching. The education sector thus presents a significant opportunity for tech entrepreneurs looking for a promising market.

As business leaders plan for the future, they should therefore consider the following Ed Tech trends:

1. Greater access to STEM materials

As technology has become increasingly central to all aspects of modern life, schools have put more focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects. To take advantage of this shift, companies can develop engaging curriculum for robotics, coding, and programming.

2. Privacy for students

Cyber-security and digital privacy rank among the top concerns of all consumers, including consumers of education. As a result, there is a large market for improving the efficacy of existing products and creating new ones that will help manage student data and protect the privacy of these young individuals.

3. “Flipped learning”

A new approach to education is called “flipped learning,” and as the name suggests, it involves turning traditional teaching methods upside down. In a “flipped” classroom, students take advantage of new technologies to absorb content at home through videos and other digital content and then complete their “homework” at school in small groups under the teacher’s supervision.

4. Virtual education

Closely related to the concept of flipped learning is the idea of remote, or “virtual,” education, which takes place outside of a physical school building. With this method, students complete courses at home using online content, including videos of instructors in front of an actual class. Another benefit of virtual education is that teachers can utilize video conferencing and social media technologies, as well as a variety of subject-matter experts to convey information and check for understanding.

5. Digital and media literacy courses

As students spend more and more time online, there is a growing need for a curriculum that teaches digital literacy — systems to help students harness the technological tools at their disposal. This includes developing guidelines for how to interact with others (for more than social and entertainment purposes) and how to process information they encounter online.

6. New utility for wearable technology

Wearable technology can help keep kids safe. Not only can these devices track the locations of students at school, but they can also monitor the whereabouts of campus visitors. These items can even facilitate paperless transactions in the cafeteria, thus reducing waste, and quite possibly, bullying and theft.

7. Game-based curricula

Schools are more frequently adopting game-based curricula as a means for creatively engaging students in their lessons. Many kids appreciate the challenge-reward concept of video games, and these digital platforms can incorporate a wealth of problem-solving and social skills.

8. Improved parent-teacher connections

As schools continue to incorporate Ed Tech into the classroom, communication between teachers and parents will flourish. Teachers will take advantage of programs that track assignments and report student progress to all involved parties. Therefore, businesses will do well to supply new and better communication channels.

9. Better open resources for educators

A vast array of educational resources exists for teachers looking to incorporate digital content into their lessons. However, many of these are of low quality. Tech developers, therefore, can profit from developing intelligent, polished, and well-researched digital materials.

10. AI and VR

Artificial intelligence (AI) has gained a lot of traction in the market recently. Tech companies can use this technology to provide educational facilities with virtual mentors and teaching assistants, as well as improved automated grading systems.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) is a popular gaming technology that entrepreneurs can use to enhance student learning. At some schools, students are already taking “virtual” field trips with a VR headset. Estimates project instructional AI and VR expanding into a multibillion-dollar industry in the near future.

11. Paperless textbooks

School districts today must decide whether print textbooks or tablets for every student are more expensive. Over time, the latter usually proves a better financial investment because schools can easily upload new and better classroom materials to the same devices, but they must spend thousands to replace outdated traditional textbooks.

12. Big data analysis

Just as big data helps businesses obtain a better grasp of their consumer base, it can help teachers learn more about their students. Technology-assisted learning can yield valuable information about how children learn and in which specific areas they are struggling. For example, a student might fully understand the material but get confused by the format of a test.

13. Social media

Educators have recently embraced the utility of social media for organizing group projects. Moreover, online conversations and homework-related hash tags can help students build their own peer community. It can also encourage new ways of learning.