The end of a year and the start of a new one is the ideal time to reflect on the recent changes in the field of education technology and to look to the immediate future of technological solutions for the classroom: what does the beginning of the new decade have in store for students and teachers worldwide?
EdTech Trends 2020: you can BETT on it
As one of the leading companies in education technology, Acer will be present at BETT 2020, the first industry show of the year, where hundreds of companies will gather in London from the 22nd to the 25th of January to present and discuss new ideas for the year ahead.
One of the major points of discussion at BETT is the growing importance of artificial intelligence in education as a tool to support both teachers and students. Perhaps ironically, robots and artificial intelligence can improve the human side of the school experience.
Furthermore, tracking students’ behaviour and engagement with the learning material through AI can help customize their experience so they can learn in a way that is optimal to their personal style, and also raise red flags for educators to notice and offer help to students who seem to be developing not optimal behaviour.
Artificial intelligence can create a healthier, less stressful environment not only for students, but for teachers as well: by using the growing potential of AI as a teaching assistant, educators can greatly reduce their workload and focus on valuable class time while technology takes care of collecting data, highlighting learning and behavioural patterns, and even planning and grading, which will improve the quality of life of our teachers and perhaps put a stop to the alarming trend of skilled educators feeling overwhelmed to the point of wanting to quit.
Old trends, new solutions
If we are to take an educated guess as to what 2020 will bring to our classrooms, we might say that the general tendency will likely be the growth and improvement of pre-existing trends. Change, even in a field that changes as rapidly as technology, does not come from nowhere: learning through video, applying gamification principles to lessons, and making learning more immersive through virtual, augmented and mixed reality are nothing new. What we can expect from the coming year, however, is for these solutions to become even more widespread in our schools as the cost and maintenance requirements of the equipment become more affordable.
All of these have a common denominator: they do not change the content of the school curriculum, but they do affect how the content is experienced by students. Once again, it is technology that reminds us that students are human and therefore in need of memorable, diverse learning experiences that are as unique as they are to ensure maximum retention of the information.
In the same vein, 2020 will see an even greater push from educators and guardians everywhere for safer, more accessible schools: the more parents and teachers are made aware of the potential and the risks of using technology in class, the more they will naturally ask schools to provide better protection from the dangers of the Web by shielding the students’ devices both from malicious software and inappropriate content. Students with learning disabilities and other difficulties will also benefit greatly from the return to humanity that no longer expects them to conform to impossible standards: instructional videos, text-to-speech technology and a wealth of other aids will continue to be by their side as compensating tools that give them a fairer chance at learning at the same pace as their peers.
In conclusion, while an increasingly technology-oriented world will undoubtedly need a shift towards STEM and relatively new subjects such as coding and robotics, what matters as we look at the education trends for 2020 is not what students will learn, but how they will learn it: the aim of EdTech companies in general and Acer in particular is to make a positive impact on school life on either side of the teacher’s desk and to give the learning experience a new, more exciting shape.