How edutech startups can accelerate active learning

edtech active learning

The new generation of students is born digital. Consciously or not, new-age parents have been actively building their children’s digital cognitive ability by passing iPads to calm down crying babies.

This new trend of parenting had been ongoing for several years now and the pandemic wave had forced even more students onto the edutech bandwagon.

The key challenge of digital education would be to engage and gain the attention of the students. Even during Zoom education, the students can be passively looking past the Zoom screen to a Netflix film on the television screen behind them as they put themselves on mute.

Source: United States Office of Educational Technology

While educators have to battle with the drawbacks of edutech, they are also able to benefit from the real-time marking of scripts, cost-free upload of new curriculum and data analytics on measuring learning outcomes for students.

While edutech might be optional pre-COVID-19, it is now the mandatory toolkits of educators.

The only question is whether educators would take a haphazard approach towards edutech or to take a systematic approach to plan educational outcomes for their students.

Edutech is a major body of specialisation but we can appreciate it better from the areas of technology, teaching approach and social media interaction.

Also Read: Why edutech is becoming an investor favourite this season

Technology

The true and tested backbone of any edutech system would be their Learning Management System (LMS). LMS would be formally defined as software used to deliver, track and manage training and educational outcomes. Reputable LMS would include Google Classroom, Schoology, Blackboard Learn, Canvas and Moodle.

Source: Prompt Cloud

It is the centralised platform where parents, students and teacher come together to ensure that learning outcomes are delivered. There are certain LMS which are more suited to different categories of education.

For instance, Google Classrooms and Schoology are designed for K-12 or the equivalent of pre-tertiary education in Singapore.

Literacy and numeracy skills are the two main types of skills for pre-tertiary education. Numeracy skills are more challenging as negative maths experience at a tender age can affect them going as young adults.

Numeracy skills are noted as important for entrepreneurs by 3E Accounting to be able to seize opportunities faster than the competition. Google Classroom allows teachers to design interactive sessions and play-based learning to create a positive learning experience for young minds.

Also Read: How the Coronavirus is teaching edutech startups a much-needed lesson

Blackboard Learn and Canvas are preferred by tertiary education institutes. Blackboard Learn is used by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and PSB Academy as seen in a simple Google search above.

Canvas is being used by Singapore University of Social Science and Yale-NUS which can be seen on their websites.

Blended learning

When we talk about LMS, we are largely talking about online learning. Even though online learning has its own advantages, schools still retain physical learning as a significant part of the learning journey.

Blended learning is a methodology that combines both online and physical instructor-led training to suit the different learning needs and style of students.

Source: Christensen Institute

As millennials enter the workforce, blended learning has become more important as it reflects the workplace environment today. Workers have to toggle between working on Zoom as they work from home and working in a physical environment. This work arrangement will be here to stay after the pandemic.

Blended learning is nimbler than traditional classroom learning with its combined online and offline approaches. Instructors can use the built-in reporting features on LMS for deeper, data-driven insights as well as transparent communication process in a face-to-face setting. The interactive environment will also make learning a fun experience.

Social media learning

Do you still remember the earlier point of the key challenge for digital education? That would be the need to induce interaction among students. Social media would be one of the key enablers of such interactions.

Also Read: Why edutech is becoming an investor favourite this season

Georgetown University noted that 96 per cent of students have at least one social media account. While they use it mainly for entertainment purpose, instructors can also guide them towards more useful purposes.

Source: Curriculum21

Facebook would be the perfect medium to start social media-based education as both the instructors and students are familiar with it. Schools can start with a Facebook Page to broadcast alerts and updates.

Facebook is also good for video live streaming to broadcast lessons. Twitter can be used as a class message board while Instagram is good for class photo essays.

Schools can also design their own social media strategy to achieve desired outcomes for their students in a systematic manner. Given that there are an array of social media tools out there, there are numerous methods to get the work done.

New world order

Education had been turned on its head by this pandemic. While these technology trends had been gaining traction over the past decade, COVID-19 had forced it upon the mainstream including traditional educators.

They would have resisted the trend of technology successfully if not for the force of COVID as various studies had indicated.

Nonetheless, whether you are using edutech on a volunteer or forced basis, it would be wise to integrate these three basic elements into your educational plan. It would be self-sabotage to over-implement on one area to the neglect of others as the results would be sub-optimal.

If you are on the other end of the spectrum, parents or students, do check if your educators are providing a comprehensive edutech experience.

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