In the early 2000’s when the world was just getting accustomed to technology, EdTech or Education Technology was an alien concept.
Nobody could fathom that technology could make inroad into education through a digital platform, more so since knowledge as a concept was always known to be imparted physically or face to face by a teacher. Especially in India which is traditionally inclined towards the teacher-student paradigm, so ingrained into its psyche since the Vedic times.
However, things changed when in 2011 an entrepreneur decided to teach the competitive aptitude test syllabus through a smart phone application. With the growth of such innovative concepts, India woke up to the idea of Edtech, and has since then not looked back.
Technology in the past decade has revolutionised the way education is imparted, in a remarkable way. such is the impact of technology on education that everything to do with it – from classrooms to notebooks – has the prefix ‘smart’ attached to it which is a play on a word that signifies not just intelligence but advanced as well.
In her second budget announcement on 1st February 2020, India’s Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman took cognisance of the growing importance of education and re-skilling as a means of generating employment and announced a slew of measures for the sector. One of the most significant of these measures is the introduction of degree level, full-fledged, online education programmes in the top 100 educational institutes in the country.
This is an avant-garde step in the promotion and development of EdTech in the country. With this step, the symbiotic relation of Education and Technology just got an official sanction, thus helping more private players to innovate in the sector.
Education has always been a priceless gift, though seldom easily available. Socio-economical restrictions have hampered bright candidates from gaining the knowledge they deserve. EdTech is the technology that has bridged this gap. With the help of the internet and learning apps, education is now easily accessible to anybody who has an internet, irrespective of location and cost. In fact, some of these technologies are even available offline without requiring a normal internet connection. This has greatly helped make the education sector more flexible, inclusive and accessible. Specially, in a country where 70% of the population resides in rural areas with very limited reach to sophisticated amenities.
While EdTech has worked amazingly in all facets of the learning process, from digital attendance to data analytics to providing personalised classes, the major whirlwind comes in the form of easy availability of vocational education. Thanks to the introduction of learning applications and software, individuals are no more limited to studying the courses that are offered to them. EdTech has given learners the luxury of choice. They can choose to study and gain knowledge in whatever they want. There is an array of courses across streams that Edtech brings to the plate.
Some of the greatest inventions in the last decade owe their success to this method of learning. Apps and technologies that are used in daily lives were developed by creators who learnt coding online.
Kevin Systrom, founder of one of the most popular social media platform, is a well-known example of this. A marketer by day, Systrom learnt coding by night to develop one of the web world’s highest downloaded photo-sharing app. While, this App is just one out of the million success stories, it gave an entire generation the hope and motivation to study their choice of course from the comfort of their homes.
Lastly, closer to ground level, what EdTech has also done is that it has transformed the way students and their capabilities are evaluated at school level. With the introduction of data analytics, capability of students is no more judged on their marks. Personalisation and digitisation has helped the education system become more adaptable. It has also introduced a concept beyond the conventional evaluation systems of ‘pass’ and ‘fail’.
A diverse variety of Apps have helped make delivery of knowledge easier and more precise. A mere video, recorded in the comfort of one’s home can reach lakhs of viewers and help them learn a new concept. While another breakthrough, a popular online classroom has changed the way teachers are managing coursework, it also makes the education process more eco-friendly and spoil proof. Further Edtech has also helped encourage greater student collaboration. Since education has become location independent, students from various locations can partner with each other for projects. Thus, substantially widening an individual’s horizon.
While EdTech is still rapidly developing as we speak, it is but a matter of time when there will be a new innovation that will firstly shock us and consequently smoothen the process. Now with the government also pushing advancement and skill development in the sector, we are slowly moving to a regime where close to 60% and above education is going to transition to digital mediums. Thus, rightly put – EdTech is the new name for Education 2.0.