What is ' EdTech ' ?
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
The field of education has remained the same for hundreds of years. It has predominantly been classroom-based, unionized, and a tad bit unorganized. However, the advent of technology has shuffled things around within the industry.
1. What is EdTech?
The use of hardware and software interfaces to enhance educational systems is widely seen of late. It is this unique amalgamation of education and technology that is referred to as ‘Ed Tech.’
Essentially, ‘Education Technology’ or EdTechbrings together the theoretical knowledge pool and the digital know-how to improve the pre-existing teaching and learning processes. It aims to enhance the overall quality of education in the modern-day world.
However, it is in no way a substitute for the work of educators and teachers on the ground. In fact, it is meant to support their efforts in the classroom by presenting them with better tools and reducing their burden of teaching.
Speaking illustratively, in-classroom tablets, interactive projectors, whiteboards, online classes, MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are all examples of Education Technology. However, the phenomenon of EdTech, as rightly opined by several industry experts, is still in its nascent stages with a lot of scope for further advancement and growth.
2. How is it different from real-time learning?
As is true for anything new, people are yet to understand the length and breadth of EdTech. This is because of the sheer novelty of the concept and the lack of understanding that surrounds it. Owing to this, EdTech is often confused with being the same as real-time learning. That’s hardly the case.
While EdTech aims to improve learning and teaching with the use of hardware and software tools, real-time learning is focused on imparting knowledge on a need-based approach with the help of technology. It could be said that the latter is a subset of the former.
However, it is true that real-time learning differs widely from traditional methods of teaching as it questions the very core of knowledge-sharing (by making it more succinct and to the point). It is designed to meet a specific learning goal with the use of rich media formats with an aim to achieve higher knowledge retention amongst learners.
As I see it, real-time learning uses the tenants of education technology to impart need-based education; however, EdTech as a whole goes far beyond it. It includes various other modes of learning and could be viewed as a revolution of the existing educational systems.
3. Does the medium of learning play a role in teaching and its efficiency?
Yes, it does. It is a well-accepted fact that the medium of learning can massively impact the retention and recall of information amongst learners. This is also evident from the growing use of visuals and media in the classroom to impart education.
As observed in a 1984 study conducted by Cowen, visual media made concepts more accessible to a person than text media. Similarly, it was also noted in Bransford, Browning, and Cocking’s survey back in 1999 that visual media helped students retain concepts and ideas in a better manner.
In today’s time, this can be understood from the widespread use of technology in education. Videos are helping students with information processing and memory recall. They are more appealing as compared to text-based learning mediums. As they engage the visual and auditory senses of students and are thereby being relied upon by educational organizations as well.
In terms of physical barriers, too, the medium of education is seen to impact the efficiency of instruction. With the help of online/virtual classes, students have been able to learn anywhere, anytime (with the use of a computer and the Internet), which would otherwise not have been possible in a traditional classroom. I would say that the pandemic is the most prominent example of how the medium of learning can play an imminent role in imparting knowledge despite the many barriers.
Kavitta B Bedi & Katherine Ernst Mehta
About the Authors :
Kavitta B Bedi: Kavitta B Bedi, is the founder and CEO of JBC INC (Just Because its Children), where she brings in broadway theatricals from overseas for children and family audiences all across India. The repertoire of shows includes Barney Live, Spiderman Live, Noddy Live, Jungle Book Jive, Geronimo Stilton Live, etc. These shows have been done in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Dubai, Singapore, etc. An entrepreneur at heart, she is also an angel investor with investments in Tech Startups across Crowd Funding, Food Tech, Supply Chain, Health Tech, and now Ed Tech.
Katherine Ernst Mehta: Katherine Ernst Mehta is the CEO and Founder of Edvanta Consulting, where she works with international high school students across India, Singapore, Indonesia, and the UK to help them navigate the US undergraduate admission process, and gain admission to their best fit colleges. Katherine is a member of the International Association for College Admissions Counseling. In the past, she has served as a College Essay Counselor for Ethan Sawyer (aka The College Essay Guy), and helped guide low-income students through the college application and essay writing process through the Matchlighters Scholarship program. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Welcome Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving and connecting the American expat community in New Delhi, India.