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What is Educational Technology or EdTech?

If you are reading this, it’s too late. You are already aware and have probably experienced EdTech. (And if you got that last reference, you probably have an interesting playlist.) EdTech or educational technology is a very large umbrella term, and its scope is far-reaching. From Learning Management Systems to School infrastructure, Information and communications tech, and the use of Digital Tools and Media, EdTech seems to have a place in all of them.

In general, EdTech is “the use of tech and tech processes to facilitate learning and improve performance”.

This could mean Virtual or Augmented Reality classrooms like Virtual Labs and Virtual Field Trips, language learning tools like Duolingo, early childhood applications, and even programs designed to support wellbeing and positive mental health. EdTech Learning theories have been studied in several places, with a majority of learning experiences based on at least one of three core learning theories;

Behaviorism: This focuses on learning acquired through conditioning. A question, problem or puzzle is designed around specific signals or stimulus, gives rise to a response from the learner in the form of correct input. This is a very popular EdTech that involves programmed instruction, helping students to increase their ability to take tests. Khan Academy and IXL are some popular examples of EdTech based on Behaviorism.

Cognitivism: This focuses on how information is presented in order to increase reception, processing, and retention. This is where we focus on Visual Learning, Audio Learning, and Digital Multimedia development. The aim of cognitivism-based EdTech is to grab the attention of learners and help them to process information in a way that makes it easy to recall. Quizlet and Quizizz are popular applications of this theory.

Constructivism: This focuses on the learning process through experiences and making sense of the experience. Tech applications strive to create complex, realistic, and relevant environments where students can explore and interact with the content they’re learning. Here the focus is on using multiple modes of representation to enhance the learning experience and provide opportunities for social negotiation, reflection, and self-awareness in the knowledge construction process.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) gives a prime example of the objectives of EdTech for students:

“students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions”.

These education objectives are meant to develop digital skills which will ultimately empower students in an increasingly tech-dependent workscape.

EdTech and The Future of Work

Speaking of tech-dependent workscapes, the future of work is another umbrella term, talking about the technologies that will drive the workforce in the years to come. The global pandemic gave prominence to the technologies available for remote labor and creative collaboration across time zones and between several industries. This spotlight on emergent tech has accelerated the shift in what jobs will look like as soon as 2030, with the World Bank estimating 25% more jobs being replaced or completely changed than initially predicted.

EdTech is our solution to current primary and secondary school students, who are being prepared for the ever-growing 4th Industrial Revolution, the advent of artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics.

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