Like so many other things, COVID has really accelerated what was going to be an inevitable shift into a more digital way of education. Because nothing accelerates the need to utilise technology in an active learning environment quite like a global pandemic. Everyone had to invest in the infrastructure, which had previously been a nice thing to have, became absolutely essential.
Thanks to technology the relationship between student and teachers could continue virtually without skipping a beat. Teaching and learning were able to continue in a meaningful way, despite it suddenly happening remotely from lounges around the world.
But ed-tech doesn’t just apply to schools. It’s enabling learning, training, educating by giving people access to those tools digitally. Because of technology, information can be shared or absorbed that otherwise couldn’t have happened unless you were face-to-face.
It was a change that was fascinating to watch.
My thoughts on the rise of ed tech
The whole experience of things going digital overnight was surreal, from the kitchen table I could hear the kids running through the laundry list of tired old excuses as to why they didn’t have their homework. “My dog ate it” isn’t quite as effective when a Google document goes missing.
While my girls adjusted to digital learning, I had to also. Shout out to Youtube for the long division tutorials, without which, I don’t think I’d have survived lockdown #1, #2 or #3! That’s what was so cool to see, though. If there was a particularly sticky lesson for them, or when I was trying to remember a decades-old maths lesson to help, there was now the option to go back and learn at your own pace.
It has been so interesting to see the potential for the democratising of education. Because if you don’t have to be in the classroom to learn, you can, theoretically get have access to higher education from anywhere.
This means that digital poverty needs to be addressed. Policies need to be put in place, and the price of the tech needs to come down so that these types of tools and education are available and easily accessible to every single person. At this point in society, having WIFI and a device to learn on is a basic human need. Kids doing their homework in a McDonald’s car park in order to hotspot internet access is shit.
The idea of learning becoming hyper-personalised has been a cool evolution. It’s been used for years in marketing to sell people things. Now, the same concept can be used to educate. If you are nudging people to buy your product, you can also nudge people to be better at Geography or Math using the same kinds of techniques.
If you think about education in a digital world, you can start to employ techniques that have been used in commercial or even politics. If people can be taught to think they should vote for Brexit or Trump, learning the capital of Poland should be a walk in the park.
With customisation comes the possibility that the classroom is reduced down to one and caters to a personal learning experience.
Ed Tech at Cube
But ed-tech doesn’t just apply to schools. It’s enabling learning, training, educating and giving people access to those tools digitally. We have loved being a part of projects that provide that.
The First Aid apps that we built for The American Red Cross, includes life saving based guidelines. Each app contains more than 20 everyday first aid scenarios, including localised videos and illustrations adapted by the IFRC. This offers a blended learning experience by offering both digital and classroom education. Users can do the digital part exclusively, but also use it to prep so they have a baseline of knowledge for their course and helps to make the most of their classroom experience.
Our work with the University of Bristol is unique because the key driver for that isn’t about educating, but helping people. With the app, students can manage their workload and connection to other students and the university. School isn’t just about learning subjects, it’s about learning about interacting with others. In this disconnected world, we wanted them to feel like they are a part of something. Our app brings them into a digital society.
The pandemic made the work these apps do all the more important. Training and inductions that would have stopped completely, carried on around the world. The explosion that ed-tech has experienced in the past year has been so fascinating to watch, and we are so excited to dive in and talk to the experts at our webinar. Sign-up here to join us if you haven’t already!