Will EdTech ever take off?

Millions of students, especially in China, have been forced to study online for about two months now. This is expected to continue for awhile. With the outbreak spreading to other countries, including Europe, school principals, teachers, parents and students are all faced with learning to cope with distance education. Will this situation boost the idea of EdTech? Is this a moment that could transform education in the near future? Will parents and students decide that they actually prefer distance learning and oblige schools/universities to set up permanent platforms for such? Is education obliged into innovation not just in emergency situations, but for good?

Here are some pros of EdTech:

The World Health Organisation describes the present schooling system as a new and effective weapon against corona virus (and other infectious diseases, which may threaten the population).

The Organisation itself is training people via their online platforms on how to deal with the disease. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/07-02-2020-online-training-as-a-weapon-to-fight-the-new-coronavirus

Online skills

It seems that online platforms now require skills which may have been taken for granted or completely overlooked when studying face to face. Using a digital red pen for online presentations, speaking naturally in front of the camera amd engaging students via online written comments have been pointed out by the author of this article as useful skills for the future: https://kr-asia.com/chinas-schools-embrace-online-learning-as-coronavirus-forces-students-to-stay-at-home


Cost effective/increases sleep time

For many students studying from home means no transportation fees and at least one hour longer in the morning before they get ready for the actual studying.

Here are some cons:

Network issues

We are in the 21st century, yet easy and fast access to the Internet is still a problem in many countries (even developed ones).

House size. Mary Hui wrote an article in which she describes the situation in Hong Kong where house dimensions are quite reduced and therefore common space dedicated to different activities during different times of the day. https://qz.com/1800725/the-struggles-of-remote-learning-in-hong-kong-amid-coronavirus/

Hands-on subjects

There are subjects that simply cannot be taught online. Would you like to guess which ones? Health? Science?

Lack of community

Teacher/student engagement is zero with EdTech. Student/student engagement is also zero. Communities are there to help students learn from each other, engage and share experiences, boost confidence, improve communication and increase competition. In the present form of forced distance learning, these skills are all missing. https://kr-asia.com/chinas-schools-embrace-online-learning-as-coronavirus-forces-students-to-stay-at-home

The conclusion is that the current forced distance learning fails to provide learning experiences with rich context, due to its unexpected and imposed situation. However, if professional platforms were to be put in place, would they be something parents chose for their children in the future? Is brick’s future dire? We would love to hear your thoughts on EdTech, be they pro or con.

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