EdTech: The Future of Education is Remote

Child with technology

EdTech plays a significant role in the education sector, empowering students and educators, facilitators, and institutions with tools that have significantly increased accessibility and learning options. The industry has especially been relevant in the wake of the pandemic when students were locked in their homes and unable to access education through traditional means.

Several industries experienced an increase in investment as an effect of the pandemic. In 2021, $104 billion was invested into three sectors: climate, education, and health tech. In the last year alone, there was a total of $20.8 billion invested into EdTech, thrice the investment into the industry before the pandemic.

Furthermore, investments in EdTech came from several regions, with the highest investments coming in from the US and EU markets and India leading the sector in Asia. There are 32 EdTech global unicorns, with several among the list declaring IPOs in the last year.

Education Technology Today

The EdTech industry utilizes technology that is different from the standard school system. It plays a significant role in the education sector, as educators can use it to improve existing teaching methods and make learning more efficient.

Several drivers are influencing the positive growth of the industry. One of the essential factors that drove the sector's growth was the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, 1.2 billion children worldwide were unable to attend schools due to lockdowns. Schools subsequently turned to online learning to solve this problem.

While national governments have lifted lockdowns in recent months, EdTech is not showing signs of stopping. The industry is still poised for potential growth as more and more schools adopt a hybrid setup by adopting face-to-face and remote learning in tandem.

The territories currently dominating the industry are North America, Europe, and Scandinavia. Students and educators in these regions can fully leverage EdTech for many reasons: solid public policies, funding, investment, tech know-how, and strong internet connections.

The recent and most practical applications of education technology are online learning, collaboration tools, school dashboards, data analytics, and cloud computing systems.

Online learning proved to be a market with significant potential, as seen in the rise of BYJU, the world's most highly valued EdTech firm specializing in online tutoring. BYJU was worth $21 billion last year and was 13th highest on the list of global start-ups.

Additionally, students and educators were highly dependent on the collaborative tech that allowed for a more seamless digital transformation. Software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams were beneficial, allowing people to keep in touch and collaborate in real-time.

Throughout the pandemic, the industry produced its share of successful unicorns, reaching up to 33 companies. In 2021, Duolingo, Coursera, Udemy, and Zhangmen left the list through an initial public offering (IPO).

The EdTech Evolution

Over the last few years, it became clear that traditional learning methods employed by schools were no longer enough. Research shows that students absorb five times more material through online education without increasing learning time. Retention rates in face-to-face learning are at 8 - 10%. In contrast, students retain as much as 25-60% of information through online learning.

Over the last three years, the industry has evolved leaps and bounds, moving away from essential online learning towards emerging technology. This shift has had a significant influence on many school systems.

Disruptive tech was available not just for students but also for educators and institutions.

For students, technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), adaptive learning platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), and gamification became the norm as alternatives for learning.

For teachers and administrators, they leveraged blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). These technologies were utilized for data storage, creating personal identification systems, processing tuition payments, automating tests and producing immediate results, and monitoring and evaluating a student's progress.

The Future of EdTech

The EdTech sector is not without its challenges. Though online learning offers numerous benefits, it can also pose obstacles for students and parents, especially for children belonging to lower-income families having neither the equipment nor internet access.

There is also resistance from educators who hesitate to adopt newer learning techniques because of their unfamiliarity. Instructors could also find it difficult to engage their students' attention or gain specific perspectives on their progress. Moreover, there is also a lack of training programs for educators that they could use to personalize EdTech in their lessons.

As countries have declared the return to in-person classroom setups, more schools utilize blended/hybrid learning. These are clear indicators that the usage of EdTech applications and tools will consistently increase in the future.

The industry is growing rapidly. There is competition between businesses to develop the next cutting-edge tech in the education space. Companies must ensure that their intellectual property rights are sufficiently protected. Filing patents is beneficial for the economy and protects the owner's rights to their invention.

India has contributed the most innovations in this sector, filing as many as 272 patents. On the other hand, Microsoft, Mesbro, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, and Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research are the top four leading companies in the industry, filing 12, 9, 6, and 4 patents respectively.

Market research on the industry shows that EdTech will continue to grow in the coming years. More and more companies will continue to develop new and emerging technology to disrupt the industry, as EdTech is projected to reach $181 billion in 2025.

EdTech innovations, once correctly applied, will become a tool that the education sector can use to improve standard learning practices.

Key Takeaways

The EdTech industry is on the rise, and it is not showing signs of stopping any time soon.

Projections from previous research show that the future for EdTech is favorable, with more institutions leveraging these tools for blended learning, resulting in more Education Technology innovations in the years to come.

Categories: Patents