EdTech Trends by Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Chief Digital Officer, Pearson

EdTech Trends by Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Chief Digital Officer, Pearson

There is no doubt in saying that technology can improve effectiveness of learning. Every organization which relates to education is being upgraded with the latest educational technologies to achieve higher standards in learning. During recent years,

so many startups are making their ways to the educational field. EdTech startups find lots of opportunities to innovate here.

Juan Lopez-Valcarcel, Chief Digital Officer, Pearson has given an awesome speech about the Edtech revolution. Let’s learn about it briefly.

The first thing he mentioned about our educational system was that it hadn’t been changed for a long time. Once upon a time, we had a classroom with rows of students, a blackboard and a teacher. We continued with the same system for years. On the other side, there were some drastic changes in the fields other than education. The hospitals , offices, industries, etc. were completely upgraded with new equipments but our education system hadn’t. Students faced difficulty to learn with the old traditional methods.

Educational institutions are really working effectively to increase the efficiency of learning. But when we look into the statistics: “46% of US college students don’t graduate, they drop out. For the ones who actually graduate, 40% employers say that they don’t have the right skills to work.  In the last decade, tuition has gone up to 70% and the value of the degree has gone down by 15%.” Said Juan.
“Educational institutions should think about re-phasing this model and finding ideas to deliver knowledge in a better way” he suggested. Educators and administrators should adjust to this fast moving world.

Juan in his presentation mentioned some interesting facts about Education:

Education is a 4 trillion dollar industry. It’s 3 times of the global mobile industry, 8 times of the global advertising market.

He also stated the drawbacks about the current Traditional Classroom model:

Some students learn quickly while others learn slowly. Some students learn just by visualizing, some by listening while many others do so by working. The traditional classroom model doesn’t concern all these things. Everybody is in the same place & the same teacher moving with the same speed.

Now, technology allows us to do personalized learning. It really focuses on how students learn!

Education is something people provide you with, learning is something you do for yourself. Technology helps you in making your learning a life long journey.

He also stated that technology alone can’t help in improving the learning standards. Teachers and parents are the key to open the lock of success.

Let’s see about the Ed tech trends he has mentioned in his presentation. These are the trends Pearson is excited about and looks to invest in Edtech startups.

Invisible Computing:

It’s not a big secret that there are millions of tablets already in the classrooms. They have started replacing desktop and laptop computers because of their portability and touch features. But still they create a difficulty since a trolly of these tablets needs to be rolled out into the classroom and the white board needs to be turned on every time. To overcome this time consuming process, there is another advanced solution. Just imagine that the computers are everywhere, how interesting when every surface is like a computer, when the whiteboard can be moved around and the teacher shares the assignments on the fly. This is called invisible computing, a new Edtech evolution.

Smart Data:

Usage of big data analytics in education will surely improve a school’s overall performance. The barrier with big data is that it is very sparse, essentially made of redundant information. Storing and processing the whole data is an inefficient and time consuming process. If we summarize and sample the big data smartly, we can get better results. This is Smart data analytics.

No Instructors & Robot assisted learning:

As we know, teachers play a crucial role in children’s learning. But in some places, there are just not enough teachers.

Juan explained about an experiment cum mission that MIT carried out in Ethiopia, “There was a village, where there were no schools, no electricity and no way for those kids to get schooling. What MIT decided to do was to drop a series of android tablets and walk away. No instructions except to say that these tablets are only for the kids and the parents are not allowed to touch them, if you run out of batteries, just plug them in here with the solar panels.

Within minutes, the kids had figured out how to turn on the device even if they hadn’t seen a tablet before. Within months, most of them had learnt the alphabets and basic arithmetic by using thousands of educational apps. And within six months, they had started hacking the android tablets. This is the environment where there are no teachers and technology can be the only available way of education.

Some schools in Korea have started teaching kindergarteners English by using robots because there are not enough English teachers. The Korean Government has commented that every kindergarten will have a robot within next two years. Robot is not just a device, research shows that kids connect better with robots. The emotional attachment and the connection with a robot helps them learn better.

Global Rockstar Teachers:

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the biggest trend nowadays, there is an advancement in this trend which is called “Global Rockstar Teachers”. Rockstar Teachers are highly capable of engaging learners: everybody wishes to take courses with them either online or on-campus.  The concept is that no matter where those teachers are in the world, if they are the best for a subject, you can get access to them. This makes a big difference because it no longer depends on where you are born or which to school you go, you’ll get access to the best teachers wherever they are.

Stealth Learning:

Marriott hotel created a game which is based on kitchen activity. The purpose behind creating this is to overcome a specific challenge i.e. Marriott has to recruit thousands of employees every year. This game helps them as a recruiting tool as well as a training tool. It need not be exciting because it is created for a particular purpose. An interesting trend in today’s educational system is the introduction of educational games for learning that really engage learners. If we incorporate the games that students really like with educational elements, students may not feel like they are learning when actually they are. This is called Stealth Learn, a new trend. The best example that Juan suggested about this is Mine Craft .

Social Learning :

Learning through social networks namely Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. is really a cool way of learning. For example, Edmodo offers Facebook features that incorporate educational elements.

Open Hardware:

Compare the science projects you’ve done in your schooling with the new trends such as Google Glass or a Rasberry pi. They started hacking the old systems and becoming students’ new projects. Teachers are also starting to use these devices soon to do teaching in new ways.

These are the 7 key educational technology trends or areas of interests Juan explained in his presentation. Pearson is looking for innovators in these areas of interests. You can follow @jlopezvalcarcel to have a conversation with him or go to labs.pearson.com.


About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite: http://www.twitter.com/SantoshBhaskarK
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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