Edtech trends for the near future

In this article, we explore the biggest trends that are set to emerge in the education technology (Edtech) space in the near future

Edtech is an area of disruptive innovation that has seen a great deal of growth, as education providers of all kinds look to reshape the learning experience. Like most sectors, education found themselves in need of digital solutions to facilitate remote working, and looks set to continue deploying capabilities for the benefit of teachers and learners alike. With this in mind, we take a look at some of the biggest Edtech trends for the near future.

More use of real-time data

Data-driven decision making being favoured over gut feeling has been a key trend in business generally, and in the coming years, this could revolutionise operations across education. Cloud and data science capabilities used at scale in particular, if deployed correctly, can improve the experiences of staff and learners going forward.

“Cloud-based solutions keep data secure and are easy for teachers to navigate and use,” explained Simon Freeman, managing director for education at IRIS Software Group.

“We will see a big shift towards senior leadership teams using a cloud MIS solution to easily manipulate data to make informed decisions and drive impactful interventions for Trusts, schools and students. Intuitive reporting, presentation and representation of the data will drive conversations with colleagues to understand the real life (human) stories behind the numbers and provide a holistic view of each teacher and pupil. With less effort expended in bringing data from individual, unconnected systems together, more time will be spent on better supporting students through their education journey.

“This will drive another trend of schools and Trusts adopting informative dashboards that present key statistics on the Trust as a whole, as well as individual schools, year groups and classes. Added to this, we’ll see more powerful reporting that provides a detailed view of critical data such as attendance, assessment, wellbeing, behavior at trust, school, class and pupil level with drill-through capability. This will especially support with Ofsted inspections, enabling teacher and leaders to do all the reporting required, but in half the time.

“The industry is only scratching the surface when it comes to using real-time data to inform decision making to drive educational or operational impact on scale; something that will advance even further with a cloud MIS solution.”

Online provision in universities

Looking towards Edtech trends that are set to emerge across universities, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions have been cited as key tools in delivering augmented provision experiences.

While institutions may be suspicious of SaaS providers due to possible lack of understanding of educational context amidst commercial interests, Dr John Miles, CEO of Inkpath, believes that deployment of this technology can be key to blended learning in the coming years.

“The pivot to online provision has provided the perfect conditions in which to try not only new tools but also new partnerships, and to quickly scale up initiatives already in place,” said Miles.

“Those institutions which most successfully integrate digital and face-to-face provision will be those which think carefully about the fit between the medium and provision, having the confidence to be inventive with the ‘blended’ boundary between them.

“It is not enough to try to directly emulate the face-to-face experience with digital means, as anyone who has attended an online conference in the last year will know. But to be able to present a truly engaging ‘blended’ experience will require flexibility. The tools used must if possible span, and be meaningful in, both digital and face-to-face contexts, and facilitate the easy transition between the two.”

Edtech in the metaverse

The metaverse has been the new hot buzzword over the past year, but the technologies it will bring, from immersive reality to new data science capabilities, could drive concrete value in education, according to Apratim Purakayastha, CTO of Skillsoft.

“The metaverse, along with VR and AR technology more broadly, will be critical in scaling experiential learning,” said Purakayastha.

“When thinking about training in a corporate setting, organisations care most about the outcome, which is delivering durable, new skills that learners can actually use on the job. The vast majority of individuals learn best by doing, rather than just listening or reading, and skills learned experientially are the ones that stick and transfer from the ‘classroom’ to ‘on-the-job’.

“Digital reality technology provides an exciting space where we can develop new experiential learning scenarios. From legal and compliance situational training with synthetically programmed avatars, to business and leadership training to simulate conflict resolution or crowd presentations to hands-on training to operate physical hardware in IT training, the possibilities and opportunities in this next evolution of learning are vast.”

Aiding assessment and collaboration

To round off, Simon Carter, director at RM, sees Edtech continuing to bolster assessment and cross-institution collaboration in the near future.

Carter explained: “Over the next five years, we can expect that to go one step further and technology to support students and staff on a more human level. It’s no secret that there’s been a hiring crisis in the education sector for some time, but through the use of digital assessment tools, and the digitisation of historically manual admin tasks, all that can be alleviated to reduce teachers’ working days and, ultimately, improve the likelihood of those fantastic teachers staying by spending more time on what they love: teaching.

“For students too, technology in education provides fresh opportunities to collaborate with their peers – irrespective of whether it’s a snow day, or they have a broken leg – and, beyond that, even collaborate with students across other institutions to better their social and communication skills.

“Finally, the crucial trend I anticipate occurring over the next decade is a move to entirely digital assessment – it being the only way to truly ensure equity in the assessment process and eliminate bias.”


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.