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Your back to school guide to edtech

  • 16 September 2020
  • Digital Transformation Advise

As educational institutions reopen this September, it is set to be a ‘school year unlike any other’ as they adjust to new ways of teaching and delivering a true student experience in ’new normal’ conditions. In this article, we talk about edtech and how educational institutions can leverage digital technologies to create engaging and effective learning materials and seamless student experiences, from enrollment to off-campus support and mentoring.

Now is the time to build new capabilities

If you walk into a classroom today, it wouldn’t look, smell or feel much different than it did 40 years ago. Furthermore, tuition costs are rising and customer expectations are becoming even more demanding. Educational institutions have been forced to learn in recent months how to make remote learning work. Many excelled, many didn’t and all would likely do things a little differently if they had the time again. To avoid further (and longer-term) disruption now is the time for education institutions to build new capabilities, delivery models and innovative digital experiences that create learning environments fit for the future.

Educational institutions have historically not been scalable due to high capex requirements, talent and resource requirements and physical capacity limitations. Online learning will create growth opportunities as institutions can access a broader student base instantly. This was best demonstrated by 2+ million people who enrolled in Yale’s most popular class on happiness during lockdown. Not only was attendance high, the engagement rates were also higher than some class-based programmes.

Male student using Macbook

Increasing investment

The edtech sector is receiving significant investment in new products, platforms and experiences which will go someway in addressing these historic shortcomings of the sector. There was an increase of 1,700% in individual investments from May to June 2020 in the edtech sector. Furthermore, other organisations are starting to think about Education differently. Just last month Google announced plans to introduce "Google Career Certificates," a collection of courses designed to help participants get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields without attending university and at a fraction of the cost. This will only further deplete the pool of target customers traditional institutions can target. 

Nevertheless, some aspects of education cannot be replicated remotely. Science experiments that are typically done in laboratories most likely shouldn’t be attempted in home kitchens. Socialising and group work is also a core part of the education experience and we have all lived the impact of too much Zoom!

Future-proofing your institution

There is now an abundance of technology available to educational institutions that will drive student engagement, personalise the student experience and offer new and compelling ways of delivering content. While still in its nascency, edtech is proving to be more than just a short-term solution to Covid-19. The key to future-proofing your institution is to determine which of these technologies will drive the most value for your students, teachers and staff. We have worked with educational institutions to better understand how these new technologies will positively impact KPIs, and help support with their prioritisation and seamless implementation. As we set off down the path of a new school year, institutions must adapt quickly to address decades of non-innovation and to deliver a best-in-class teaching experience to a digitally native generation.

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