The Rise of Education Technology (EdTech): A Complete Guide
Education technology (EdTech) gives both students and educators exciting opportunities to learn new skills in never-before-seen ways. Learners can see strange new worlds, learn about history and math in digital communities, and explore worlds of knowledge in an advanced online setting.
This article includes details about:
- The definition of EdTech
- New examples of EdTech
- The importance of EdTech for learners and teachers
- The size and outlook of the EdTech industry
What is Education Technology?
Education Technology, or EdTech, uses both old and new technology (such as calculators, the Internet, computers, and software programs) to help students of any age learn better. EdTech can also be useful in helping teachers to educate well.
The abacus, which has been around at least since at least 600 BC, is one of the earliest forms of education technology!
EdTech is a pretty broad term that can refer either to the physical tools used in teaching and learning or to the teaching methods that surround technology in education. Specific types of education, such as remote learning, count as EdTech, but so do tablets and other smart devices when used in a classroom.
Different types of EdTech have their own unique pros and cons. For example, remote learning (such as through a laptop or tablet device) allows students to continue learning even when school is closed. That way, students can continue to learn even during a snow day or other closure. However, the lack of in-person instruction can have negative results for students who learn best face-to-face.
Over 90% of teachers said they did some form of online teaching during the summer of 2020.
Examples of Education Technology
Basically, any modern technology that is used for educational purposes can be considered an example of EdTech. Laptops are a common form of EdTech, with over half of US students using those kinds of devices at least once per week.
While the global average use of laptops in the classroom is only 37%, as many as 71% of US students use laptops in school.
The most common forms of EdTech include:
- Online videos that teach educational subjects (e.g., Khan Academy, the “Crash Course” series on YouTube)
- Educational software (e.g., Kahoot!, ClassDojo)
- Research websites (e.g., Encyclopedia Britannica Elementary, Kiddle)
- Educational games (e.g., Math Blaster, iCivics)
- E-magazines (e.g., National Geographic Kids, Highlights)
One major and a relatively new form of EdTech is the use of virtual platforms and virtual reality for learning purposes. In 2010, 300 or more universities worldwide, including the University of Texas at Austin, used the virtual platform Second Life to hold classes. These usages within college courses included student-to-student interactions, scientific demonstrations, and even holding mock trials and crime scenes.
Second Life has over 70 million registered users, aka “Residents.” About 200,000 of these Residents are active on an average day.
Second Life has also been used by the United States military as a way to teach veterans how to spot the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this project, veterans used their digital avatars, or representations, to navigate through a mental health station and learn more information about PTSD.
Another kind of virtual platform that can be used for education is extended reality (XR), which includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), both of which immerse users in a digital world. VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and AR smartphone apps like Pokémon Go have seen great success in the world of entertainment.
That same form of technology can also be used for educational purposes, such as immersing learners in a historical setting or allowing them to see works of art as if they were at a museum in person. Students can even experience virtual laboratories or see the laws of chemistry play out in 3D.
The use of augmented reality in education may reach a $5+ billion value by the year 2023.
Other EdTech examples include the use of iPads (or other tablets), social media, and smartboards in a classroom setting. These technologies and devices give students a chance to learn in ways other than using traditional paper and pencil.
Especially in college, where physical discussions typically happen only once or twice a week, virtual chatrooms can also be an incredibly helpful form of EdTech. Students can create a greater sense of community through the use of chatrooms.
In 2016, 81% of students in college said that e-learning, such as chatrooms, helped their grades.
Why Is EdTech Important?
EdTech presents a lot of learning advantages for both educators and students. Among other benefits, EdTech:
- Prepares students to participate in virtual communication
- Gives learners a variety of learning options to choose from
- Helps teach multiple types of knowledge and a wide range of skills
- Allows students to keep up with the latest forms of technology
According to one study, American students who spent more than 60 minutes per week using a device to help learn about a subject experienced better learning outcomes.
Teachers with access to EdTech resources and methods are able to include the newest teaching tools in their classrooms. They can also keep their students’ attention in unique ways that weren’t available in the past.
For example, teachers can provide classroom instruction on mathematics while students complete equations on their tablet devices. The software on the tablets can check the answers and determine if the students are answering the questions correctly or incorrectly. This gives students a chance to practice their math skills in real-time while learning directly from their instructor.
While many teachers can attest to the sometimes distracting nature of smartphones and other personal devices in the classroom, this kind of technology can also be used for good. One study found that using mobile devices in a structured manner gave students a way to connect with each other and their teachers.
EdTech can also be important for other types of schooling options, such as homeschooling. Platforms like Outschool offer thousands of PreK-12 courses in STEM, fine arts, sports, social studies, and more. A startup called Primer gives homeschooling parents a chance to connect their kids with all sorts of clubs and events.
Nearly 7% of US students were homeschooled during the 2020-2021 school year.
iBrainy as Education Technology
The iBrainy application is geared toward increasing its users’ knowledge through all sorts of quizzes. This type of EdTech gives users and learners a chance to test their knowledge about a variety of topics. Whether you’re interested in history, pop culture, or general trivia, iBrainy gives you a chance to see how much you know and how much you can learn.
By offering online quizzes, courses, and digital networking, iBrainy brings together the best aspects of EdTech. You can communicate virtually, learn about a wide variety of subjects, and gain new knowledge that would never have been possible before.
iBrainy also makes use of the advantages of EdTech thanks to its artificial intelligence (AI). The app’s AI matches quizzes and courses up with you, the user so that you can experience a personalized form of learning and fun. You can learn about subjects that are suited to your interests.
A big part of the iBrainy model is its use of “gamification.” That’s a fancy word that basically means to apply the sorts of things that you would usually find in a sports or video game—such as scoring points or having a leaderboard—to something else. Web programs that assign badges when users complete a task also count as a form of gamification.
One study found that gamifying an educational opportunity can improve learning outcomes by at least 45%.
iBrainy offers a personal dashboard that allows you to track your learning progress. That way, you can experience a sense of excitement when you score well in a section. You can also feel a sense of competition when you find quiz topics that you can learn more about and improve on.
EdTech Market Size
In 2020, the worldwide EdTech market received a staggering $10 billion in venture capital investment. Individual EdTech companies like SketchyMedical received as much as $30 million in venture capital dollars.
By the year 2025, the worldwide EdTech market could exceed $400 billion!
This growth surge happened alongside the increase of remote learning during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not to say that EdTech isn’t still on an upward path even after the worst parts of the pandemic.
In fact, the EdTech industry’s compound annual growth rate (which is the measurement of how much it is expected to grow on average year after year) through 2027 is about 18%! In other words, COVID or not, EdTech is expected to have healthy, stable growth.
Apart from economic growth, the EdTech market is also enjoying an improved appraisal from teachers. A little over half of the professional educators said they view EdTech more favorably after the height of the pandemic.