What is EdTech?
EdTech in the UK, is the implementation of new technologies in classrooms to assist with learning, creativity and to remove some of the barriers teachers face day-to-day. As technology is constantly changing, it’s worth getting to know some of the benefits that new technologies might have to you and your teaching, as UK already has the largest EdTech market in Europe.
Why Do We Need Technology in Education?
Technology in the classroom can help teachers:
- Reduce workload
- Increase time efficiency
- Improve accessibility
- Increase engagement
- Prepare students for future of technology
Top 5 Technologies That Change the Way We Teach
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is a powerful technology that can give students of any age a more memorable and immersive learning experience. In fact, Education is expected to be the fourth biggest sector for VR investments by 2025. It’s a quickly growing industry, with research being done into the benefits of introducing children to VR. A study from VR/ARA found that 97% of students would take a VR course, and 70% teachers want to use VR for an interactive simulation related to the class content. For example, if you’re covering the Tudor period, you could use VR to help your learners visualize what the world looked like over 400 years ago.
Virtual Reality in Education can be used for:
- Content Creation
- Virtual School Trips
- Special Education Needs (better opportunities for learners with physical disabilities or learning disorders)
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality, similar to Virtual Reality, but is an interactive experienced based on the real world. Objects in the real world are simply enhanced by graphics. A good example of AR would be Pokémon Go, where the game works through a camera Pokémon graphics are overlayed on top of what the user already sees. AR can be a very useful tool in education, maybe more than VR technology. Stanford news released an article back in 2016 stating that VR has the ability to evoke empathy in the user and even impact their behaviour in the real world.
Augmented Reality in Education can be used for:
- Distance learning
- AR for museums
- Professional Training
- Better Comprehension
- Developing social skills (AR allows kids with disabilities to interact with their immediate surroundings)
- Encouraging creativity
E-books & Tablets
Ebooks & Tablets allow students to better interact with the material because it is more engaging. Ebooks are more convenient to get to look after, with no need to carry round a bag full of heavy books all day. They are also incredibly inclusive to kids with dyslexia, slow processing or who are visually impaired as they can adjust the font size and brightness, making them much more accessible to all kids.
According to Educational Technology & Society, 78% of learners found Apple Multi-Touch eBooks to be more effective than paper books. And, more great news: Ebooks in schools also drastically decreases paper consumption and promotes sustainability!
Ebooks & Tablets in Education can be used for:
- Text books
- Studying on-the-go
- Interactive assessments
- Any & all typically paper resources
3D printers have been around in some schools for quite a few years. However, they continue to excite and engage learners, by bringing subjects to life. Numerous 3D printer companies have designed models with education in mind. Printers for younger learners have been designed to be a lot easier to use, more reliable for teachers to use consistently, and some even come with lesson plans tailored by age group.
3D printers enable students to learn advanced concepts and skills, and cater to a wide range of learning styles. 3D printers are considered to be active learning technology, promoting inclusivity of different types of learning among students, and allows classes to move away from traditional information consumption and start to create and enhance their deep-thinking skills.
3D printers in Education can be used for:
- Printing out historical artifacts
- Art & Design
- STEM subjects
- Print out molecules, blood cells, organs (or anything!)
- Interactive problems / puzzles to solve
Like 3D printers, some schools are already using biometric systems and have been for some years now. Most schools that have them, use biometrics for cashless payments in canteens and for tracking attendance. Parents can top up lunch money online for their kids to then access via a fingerprint identification at school, preventing money getting lost or even stolen.
However, as these technologies keep developing, we’re finding new ways to take advantage of their great security benefits.
Biometrics in Education can be used for:
- Computer log ins
- Borrowing library books
- Accessing lockers
- Vending machines
- School buses
The world of technology is constantly changing, and impacts almost every aspect of our lives, and new and innovative technologies are becoming more and more prominent in the classroom. It’s incredibly exciting to see how new and future EdTech will shape teaching in 2021 and 2022, but also means becoming adaptable to new styles of education.
For more information on technology in education, see the government’s strategy for education providers.