Deep diving into global education challenges - and how edtech is responding
By Alec Malloy
While edtech continues to be a vital cog in the teaching and learning machine, new concerns are consistently emerging as technology becomes more sophisticated. Here are some of the biggest challenges that education institutions face worldwide; how technology can help to overcome them, and what you can find at the BETT events around the world this coming year.
Creating e-learning opportunities
While classrooms are, of course, the traditional venue for teaching and learning, some geographies preclude this. Take Asia, for example. With one of the largest educational catchments in the world, at over 600 million students, creating e-learning opportunities has widened educators’ reach. Mobile learning plays a big role in achieving this. China, India and Indonesia are the top three spenders on e-learning platforms.
A variety of apps are in use throughout Asia to keep teachers and students connected. VIPKid, for example, gives remote one-to-one access to children via video streaming, whereas Indonesia’s Kelase takes a more social-media orientated approach to remote learning, providing Massive Open Online Courses.
In countries such as India, where Gini inequality coefficients are at an all-time high, mobile learning is also helping close the equality gap. With high internet penetration in rural areas, the e-learning segment is expected to reach 9.6 million users in 2021 – up from 1.6 million users in 2016 according to KPMG.
Bett Asia will be exploring e-learning opportunities throughout this exciting region, as well as addressing more unique challenges facing Asian education, at its next event on 4‒5 March in Kuala Lumpur. Visit www.asia.bettshow.com for more details.
With the World Economic Forum predicting that demand for technology skills will grow by 20% by 2025, now has never been a better time to empower learners with the digital skills they need to succeed.
Enhancing collaboration between governments, edtech suppliers, schools and industry players is key here, something which Bett MEA is keen to foster at the next edition in Dubai in September 2020. In the UAE, for instance, over US$40 billion is to be committed to supporting edtech development to match the needs of its growing student body from now until 2022.
At the very least, outside agencies can play a big role in establishing smooth digital transitions for schools and higher learning centres. Condo Protego, for instance, aids in preparing students for the world of work through complete digital learning suites in UAE education centres.
However, it’s when industry gets involved that education can really flourish. In the UK, for instance, Balfour Beatty has produced a Building Information Modelling system for Coventry and Leeds Beckett University students to upskill them on industry-standard software before they graduate, enabling them to thrive in the new digital workspace.
Collaboration seems obvious, but mass adoption will ensure a tech-savvy global population, capable of handling the digital demands of the 21st century.
Visit www.mea.bettshow.com for more information on how BETT is fostering industry collaboration.
Is there a higher educational priority than student well-being? Certainly, school can prove stressful for students across the globe. In the 2018 edition of IEPS’ Wellbeing in International Schools report, stress resulting from exam and academic pressure was identified as a cause of mental health and well-being issues for 83% of respondents. Other aspects, such as changing international school often, also proved to be stumbling blocks in the way of achieving student wellness.
So how can EdTech help? At primary and secondary level, there are plenty of age-appropriate apps on how to deal with issues like stress, self-esteem and problem-solving, and signposting them to students is an important role for schools.
Mind Moose, for example, is an app designed by Sarah Ross, a former head of year. Using colourful animations, it explains to primary-level children how to cope with their emotions and self-esteem issues, and teaches problem-solving.
For secondary students, apps like ForMe give them confidential access to Childline support, whereas others, such as MeTwo, lets users anonymously chat with one another to engage with any issues they’re having, enabling peers to work through issues together.
Bett UK will continue to facilitate the student well-being conversation at its next event in January 2020 at ExCeL London. Visit www.bettshow.com to read more about the world’s leading EdTech event.
Artificial intelligence in education
Bett Brazil will explore all the latest trends and hot topics in Brazilian and South American teaching. Artificial intelligence (AI) is just one of the latest ways continental educators are exploring lesson planning as well as student wellness.
In Brazil, Geekie is changing the way Brazilian pupils are accessing learning. The São Paolo-based start-up delivers an entirely digital syllabus, combining text, video and images for remote learning. But that’s not all – it has one big trump card: AI, which is built into the programme at a core level. This collects and analyses pupil data, which teachers can use to better understand their performance. With this data, Geekie also refines and curates specialist lessons and teaching for a more personal approach. The results? More engaged learners with strong educational outcomes claims Geekie.
AI and machine learning within education is here to stay, aiding everything from revision and learning to student well-being and retention. We’ve seen at higher levels how AI-driven student dashboards, such as the Nottingham Trent University dashboard, can analyse student data to pick up poor performance and predict when issues will occur, so staff can address them early.
Bett Brazil will be back on 12‒15 May and will explore the latest topics that surface prominently within the industry. Visit www.bettbrsileducar.com for more information.
Alec Malloy is part of the BETT team, based in London. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.