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Edtech flops provide lessons for future success

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Date: 2021-06-11 03:22:30

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In the early 2000s, an interactive whiteboard was set up to transform education. These internet-connected computer screens have replaced the old wipe clean board, allowing teachers to view videos, show problems, and work on tasks in class. By the end of the decade, they had become commonplace in classrooms around the world.

There was only one problem with the new device. That means it didn’t really work. Post-study research “Smartboards” have been shown to be frequently ignored by teachers, lead to creative learning, and do not affect student performance.

“Teachers basically used them like expensive blackboards,” says Will Millard, Head of Engagement at the Youth Center for Education in the United Kingdom.

In the pandemic era, interactive whiteboards are a good lesson. Investors are hungry for educational technology opportunities as distance learning is now mainstream. Educators are keen on the potential to boost learning around the world. However, some experts emphasize that edtech is not a silver bullet and warn that there is a risk of damaging educational outcomes and establishing inequality.

“Technology has not necessarily improved quality,” said Andreas Schleicher, head of the OECD’s Department of Education and Skills.

In fact, he often admits that it did the opposite. According to the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (Pisa), most children who use edtech for tasks such as posting works on school websites, using learning apps, and playing simulations do so. The reading score was lower than that of non-children. ..

“That’s not a surprise. With many learning technologies, learning is less rich and more scripted … It’s a depriving tool,” Schleicher says. “I’m probably seeing more negative results than positive ones.”

Educational technology can interfere with learning, according to Millard, encouraging teachers to adopt activities to use technology rather than complement learning.

“Rather than thinking about how edtech can complement the areas of expertise of human teachers, we’re asking how we can change classroom activities around the iPad,” he said. I will.

But that doesn’t mean that technology has nothing to offer. Most educators believe that properly regulated, accessible and proper edtech (mainly teachers and students) is a great opportunity.

Barclays predicts that the education and engineering market will grow 14.5-16.4% to a total of $ 368 billion to $ 406 billion by 2025. However, it is expected that a relatively small percentage of that money will go to low-income school children. community.

Banks believe that edtech’s greatest opportunities are in supplementary education for children through tutoring apps, higher education and corporate training.

Daniel Rodriguez Segura, a researcher at the University of Virginia’s Center for Education Policy and Labor Competitiveness, argues that edtech can transform education in the same way as non-technology-guided interventions. It depends on how they are used.

He lists personalized learning apps, tools to track teacher attendance, or programs to share student work and results with parents among the most exciting uses of technology. He also believes that radio has great potential as a medium because of its accessibility.

However, Rodriguez-Segura said private education and engineering providers are likely to develop products for profitable and wealthy markets, further concentrating the benefits of technology on already favorable markets. I will.

“Companies will have far more incentives to develop apps in English than in local languages ​​with few speakers,” he says.

In India, central, a charity working to “unleash” education technology for the majority of low-income earners, as such market incentives keep investment in education engineering away from the poorest. Bikkrama Daulet Singh, Co-Administrative Director of the Square Foundation (CSF), said.

There are about 5,000 commercial educational technology companies in India, but most of them charge high subscription fees and offer products in English only that require relatively high technology. In the case of, he says, it serves the wealthiest 20-25 million people in the population. “They are investors who don’t necessarily have that low-income lens.”

As a result, one of the most effective investors in the poor community is charity, foundations such as CSF, and social enterprises. WhatsApp has emerged as a “ubiquitous channel” and Daulet Singh Rocket learning, A CSF-backed non-profit organization, is one of the best organizations to use CSF to improve children’s outcomes.

Rocket Learning creates WhatsApp groups to share educational activities, games and homework for parents to work with their children and send them back to teachers. This encourages the family to participate more in the student’s learning.

“We tried to keep the content simple … Focus on the concept and let the kids have fun and learn,” says Rocket Learning co-founder Uzafukeria.

He argues that using accessible platforms such as WhatsApp, creating tools in the local language, and engaging parents with teachers is essential to success. “Teachers have been involved all the time.”

Rodriguez-Segura states that edtech investors need to follow similar principles, work within learner constraints, and consider issues that edtech may solve. Edtech says that avoiding flashy distractions and inequality can make as much difference in learning as any other initiative.

“After all, educational technology interventions can’t beat non-technical interventions … This is just another tool in the toolkit.”

Original Source: https://californianewstimes.com/edtech-flops-provide-lessons-for-future-success/389977/