The internet is indispensable. It has changed how the world works. Let’s take a look at the education sector, for example. Information for research has become instantaneous.
It may seem like an age ago, but less than two decades ago, doing research required many hours spent in a library, which was not really the most efficient way to do things. Most resources would be in print-only; academics and librarians were heavily relied on to provide concise information.
Technology is changing the way that we learn, information is also more abundant to the masses. Breakthroughs of new technology innovations such as AI and blockchain are giving more opportunities for the edutech sector to grow.
Let’s dig deeper into how edutech can boost learning in the digital world.
Personalized learning tools
To help make learning more efficient, there should be personalization of subject content. Additional reading of current affairs allows students to be well-read beyond their textbooks. The expansion of their world view also builds critical thinking, an essential skill in daily life.
Streamlining topics can also help minimize the time wasted on irrelevant materials, more so if the subject matters are catered individually to each student. With such customized content, students can skip redundant material and concentrate on the most useful topics to help them understand concepts.
Existing companies such as YouTube or Google are already recommending content-based user profiles. However, the recommendations are mainly dependent on algorithms that are not necessarily customized for each learner.
Rather than just one media site or platform, having an online learning platform with interactive features such as narration, music, speech, and short videos would help students understand learning objectives in an engaging manner.
Edutech should not be just machines churning out automated responses; it should enable assessors to analyze how each student grasps concepts. This can be done through a customized educational profile for each student.
Deeper offline-to-online assessments analytics
The advancement of handwriting and object recognition is also another indication that predicates an enhanced offline-to-online (O2O) learning experience in the future for students. Students will soon be able to do their own work and writings on paper, to have it analyzed and processed digitally by a camera.
For example, U.S. edutech company Osmo offers a system that uses a clip-on mirror to allow a device’s camera to recognize and track objects and movements. The system can identify real-world items such as a child’s handwriting or the way the student arranges various toys, analyzing these signals, and converting them into real-time data and information.
While these games are entertaining and educational for beginners, there is a gap in O2O learning for older students, especially in the areas of assessments and feedback.
The existing hands-on learning games have their limitations on some scientific and mathematical concepts, which are a lot harder to demonstrate (e.g., integration or order of operations). Unsurprisingly, abstract concepts tend to be the biggest difficulties students face in studying for a major exam.
Firms such as Photomath and Socratic are already filling the needs partially by providing instant solutions, which have proven to be popular with their users. They might be lacking in some areas; nonetheless, their software can turn offline assessments or homework into more meaningful data. The outcome will help students prepare for tests and exams with a better understanding of concepts.
Blockchain technology to reduce fraud and improve efficiency
Blockchain has been an important asset in our technological advancement, and especially in the fintech landscape. Blockchain technology’s ability to detect various types of risks, including cheating, score manipulation and cybersecurity threats, ranks superior to traditional examination procedures. (In May 2019, Singapore announced a blockchain certificate system with 18 education institutions.)
Using blockchain would assist in delegating responsibilities in a more efficient way, such that unnecessary repetitive labor is curbed. With more e-certificates now being given, such as by the SkillsFuture courses, the blockchain exam system could create a decentralized cryptographic tamper-free ledger.
This new structure will allow the exam committee to administer, track, record, transport and publish the results faster by removing many steps in the traditional approach. With the streamlined setup, candidates can receive their results and take the next step in their learning journey sooner.
Minority report: education version
In the movie “Minority Report,” a specialized police department apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called “precogs.” The “precogs” are able to peer into the future actions of criminals and provide the information to the police.
The police are then able to arrest the criminals before the crime is actually committed. In the world of education, the “crimes” are the mistakes hindering a student and our “precogs” will be the AI that predicts the learning challenges students will face, even before encountering them.
We have already developed an AI model that is able to predict the chances of students answering a particular question correctly, even without their actually facing the question.
We believe that the next advancement in edutech will be the ability to provide corrective measures to eliminate a student’s weaknesses, thus saving a lot of time.
These pre-emptive measures can be in the form of watching a video, listening to a podcast or playing a mini-game. A collection of these measures would be similar to a remedial book personalized to a learner.
The future of classrooms?
This is not to say that technology will completely take over the classroom.
Technology is an important and crucial tool, but its role has and always will be to support the human teacher in his or her lessons. While machines will be able to analyze, teach, and zoom in technical aspects of learning, the teacher’s role to guide, nurture, and inspire students has always been relevant — perhaps even more so in an age where human interaction is constantly on the decline.