As Wikipedia defines Educational Technology is:
“the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to facilitate learning. Educational technology creates, uses, and manages technological processes and educational resources to help improve user academic performance.
The field has been described as a persisting initiative that seeks to bring learners, teacher, and technical means together in an effective way.”
PUBLIC Numbers #3#EdTech is one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors & investment climbed 91% from 2018 to 2019. Check out how #COVID and the closures of schools has greatly accelerated the demand for e-learning solutions & some examples of startups from the EdTech ecosystem ???? pic.twitter.com/S2hPoMFU1J
— PUBLIC (@PUBLIC_Team) June 25, 2020
It’s a tremendously fertile sector for exciting and fun innovations that utilize technology in new and novel ways to stimulate children and deliver education.
For example ‘Osmo‘ uses the camera on an iPhone and computer vision to create interactive learning sessions with things like letter blocks and numbers. If a child moves a block letter in front of the camera, the software can recognize it and tell if the they picked the correct letter.
It also ‘gamifies’ the learning experience, awarding children points for their involvement. Given student participation has been the biggest online learning challenge for Scotland during Covid-19, these kinds of features are especially important, and when you consider Scotland’s e-learning portal Glow can be accessed via gaming consoles, and that lack of Internet and devices is a key part of the challenge, there is great potential for ventures that blend the gaming world with education.
The Cloud can play a key role in enabling and accelerating new ways of learning. The AWS EdStart program features ventures utilizing robotics and machine learning to advance student learning through one-to-one support, adaptive learning algorithms, and immediate feedback mechanisms. Microsoft offers this paper Reimagining education: From remote to hybrid learning, which explores how ‘deep learning’ can be achieved in virtual environments. Education Technology also suggests this hybrid learning approach is key to successfully transitioning through this new Covid-19 world.
Even simply making more use of existing platforms offers great potential. Youtube is one of the world’s largest libraries of online learning, with the i newspaper writing ‘Edutubers’ are one key method of addressing the shortage of content during Covid.
Scotland’s EdTech Pioneers
An extremely powerful dynamic for Scotland to harness is to utilize local startups to advance these broader national goals. This would encourage a compounding benefit as the improvement of Scottish Education would simultaneously drive the commercial success of Scottish businesses, critically providing them with case study success stories that would support their international expansion, further boosting the economy.
Examples of Scottish EdTech ventures include:
- Ajenta – High-quality, real-time communication platform for virtual learning environments. Users can access their web based video platform from any browser, mobile device desktop, or room based systems.
- Gecko Engage – An AI-powered chatbot for engaging students, consolidating all their messaging channels into a single, collaborative inbox, capturing leads, answer questions and register event attendees on autopilot, 24/7.
- Sumdog – An online learning service for personalised maths & spelling practice, via adaptive learning and multi-player games.
- ICS Learn – ICS Learn have been undertaking distance learning for over 100 years and provide flexible online training courses for customers anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
- Administrate – A Training Management Platform designed to help enterprises streamline learning and development through a cloud-based, configurable software solution.
- Mindmate – An app that can help curtail cognitive decline through a combination of exercise, nutrition, social interaction and brain games.
- SchoolCloud – Software solutions to improve how schools operate and is used in over 4,000 schools around the world. Their technology solutions support not only room bookings and management but also the digital handing of parent’s evenings, clubs and event bookings.
- Skoog Music – Makes easy-to-play musical instruments for iPad, iPhone and iOS devices called the Skoog and the Skwitch. They are music ‘boxes’ connected to a free downloadable app which works with Apple Music, Spotify and other music services.
- Ecom Scotland – Offers a comprehensive range of ready-made eLearning courses as well the capability to develop high-quality bespoke eLearning content.
Our national opportunity is to harness this collective pool of innovation and define how various combinations of each can be applied to meet the various education needs of Scotland.
Learn.scot can not only provide the central e-learning community but also act as an umbrella framework for achieving this synthesis and accelerating adoption of each of the services.