Discover the top 6 EdTech Trends that will dominate and drive the educational technology industry in 2022.
1. Personalized learning
Personalized learning has long been the dream of ed tech evangelists, and the pandemic has brought it closer than ever to becoming reality, according to Matt Cole, senior vice president of global ed tech giant Promethean.
Measures to ease the transition to home learning saw more devices put into children’s hands and teachers creating an unprecedented amount of digital resources.
“Creating individual lesson plans and personalized learning has not been as easy or as possible as it is now there is so much more technology and access to digital content in the classroom,” says Cole.
More computer-based activities also provides teachers with more data about students’ progress, enabling teachers to see their students in higher definition, according to Dr Elise Ecoff, group education director for international schools group Nord Anglia Education.
“This shift will see technology move from the domain of teaching devices and software programmes into a far more sophisticated educational proposition. Data and analytics will provide a more personalised learning experience for students.”
2. Closing the gap
The pandemic brutally exposed differences that accentuated the gaps between students: in access to digital devices, parental support with home learning and even broadband speeds.
Programs to equip more children with devices and the $65 billion set aside for improved broadband as part of the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Bill are steps in the right direction, and over the next 12 months we can expect to see ed tech harnessed in an attempt to narrow the gap further.
“What we saw was a situation where students who were behind got further behind,” says Adam Chace, chief technology officer at ed tech company Curriculum Associates.
“The students who needed it the most often had the least access to devices and broadband.
“Most kids did not get a good learning experience over the pandemic, but that opens up doors for new products and tech.”
The focus will shift to tools that can quickly identify what level students are working at and give teachers the resources to tackle specific gaps, he says, with a parallel emphasis on making life easier for teachers.
“Teachers are working with probably the most challenging classrooms they have ever had, and we’re asking them to try to solve this problem,” Chace adds.
“More than ever we are motivated to find solutions that save teachers time by giving them the means to quickly assess the state of the classroom.”
3. Focusing on the teacher-student relationship
For many people, the lesson from the biggest experiment in remote learning ever conducted was the importance of the teacher-student relationship, and this will come to the fore in the next 12 months, according to Jack Lynch, CEO of ed tech company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“The most powerful tools—and those that will last—will also center human interaction and relationships,” he says. “This looks much different than the virtual learning practices that were leveraged, out of necessity, to carry us through the earlier days of the pandemic.
“Remote learning was isolating and unengaging for many learners, and I predict educators will embrace software that can blend the best of technology with the best of the classroom experiences and tools that extend the capabilities of very busy teachers by helping them personalize the learning experience.”
Among the solutions he expects to see come to the fore in 2022 are greater integration between teaching and assessment, a closer connection between outcome analytics and classroom teaching, and using artificial intelligence as a teachers’s ‘personal assistant’, giving the teacher greater capacity to focus on their students.
“Access to well-designed, human-centered technology solutions has great potential to delivery lasting impact this coming year and beyond,” Lynch adds.
4. Blended/hybrid learning
If you thought that blended and hybrid learning was just for the pandemic, you may need to think again.
School districts have spent an enormous amount of money on ed tech in the last two years, and they are going to want to get the most out of their investment in 2022, says Cole. On top of this, more resources are available digitally than ever before.
All this means that a blended learning model – a mixture of online and face-to-face teaching – becomes both more appealing and more feasible.
“School districts were forced to make quick buying decisions to support remote and at-home learning and we’re seeing more and more districts talking about how they can use those investments in a blended learning environment,” Cole says.
“We will see more partnerships in ed tech as districts look to maximize their investment,” he adds. “They’re going to want to make sure that they’re standardizing the tools that they’re using and there needs to be synergy between those tools and how they interact.”
Hybrid learning may have been the result of an emergency, but there are students who do well with a mixture of in-person and online lessons. Even when face-to-face learning is fully restored, hybrid learning will continue to be a preferred option for a minority.
“There are most certainly students who thrive in that type of environment and I expect students and parents and districts to continue leveraging that, where it continues to make sense,” says Cole.
And if nothing else, schools will want to retain the option of switching to hybrid learning at short notice if and when the need arises again.
5. Gamification and on-demand examination
Making learning a fun experience is a key feature of gamification in education. Categorising the lessons in short tasks or levels, offering badges, grades and ranks based on performance, and publishing leader boards are some of the gamification techniques used in online education.
Students, teachers, and parents can find out the progress of individual learners in real-time and plan future learning methods accordingly. It also helps continuous assessments along with the learning progress. Examinations will also witness some changes.
The learner-centric online education will enable students to request and schedule examinations whenever they’re ready for the test. On-demand exams will have more takers in the coming year.
6. Integration of VR, AR, XR in daily learning
Keeping a learner’s attention and concentration on a subject is a major challenge in the online mode of education. 2022 will see more innovations to enhance interactive learning by integrating new technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) that will enable students to observe and experience the concepts in a near-real environment.
Apart from ensuring interactive learning, these technologies will help build virtual laboratories for science and technology students, which will lead to offering more practical subjects online.
Online education is all set to register another leg of expansion by adopting innovative technologies and developing new approaches. 2022 is crucial for online education and the edtech sector as the year will witness the consolidation of the industry with more innovations.
We will see a steady growth of online education in terms of new programmes, pedagogies, and increased student enrolments and engagement.