Another year, another set of predictions! The EdTech space is picking up pace as more global education institutions digitise their campus environments to attract the best students to their lecture theatres – physical or virtual. So here are my top five digital predictions in EdTech for 2017.
- Immersive learning will be a reality.
It’s no longer the future; technologies like virtual reality that once seemed the stuff of sci-fi will become part of the recruitment and learning process in our education institutions. It ultimately derives from gaming, but its being put to use in classrooms, lecture theatres and even in the hands of students looking for places at university. Google Cardboards make it easy to convert a smartphone into a tool for immersive learning to be able to go on interactive, virtual field trips, view the universe, go to the depths of our oceans or simply visit your choice of university - all of which can be annotated with points of interest and questions and answers to make it fun and completely immersive. This will definitely see a rise in popularity on digital campuses in 2017.
- Increased collaboration between academics
Much has been said about students using the digital campus to collaborate with each other and with their teachers, but little is spoken about how the digitisation of campus environments also helps those who teach to collaborate too. Sharing is easy and teachers now have a global audience to tap into to. Students find this so much easier – they simply put themselves out there, share their ideas and take on board the opinions of others, but the leap of faith is perhaps bigger for academics. The chattier style of social media is much less formal than perhaps they’re used to and not all ideas have to be meaningful, they can just be thoughts. It’s a departure from what feels comfortable, but academics must join the conversation, and are doing so – and I think we will see more of this type of collaboration in 2017.
- Data analytics
It’s not a new technology, but its application in EdTech is providing institutions with accurate information on how to teach their students. The digital campus provides an enormous opportunity for institutions to be able to view the digital footprint of its students and track progress. Students that are totally engaged with their courses and subjects will have an extensive digital footprint across university resources; the library, the virtual learning environment, social activities and more widely. Those students who are much less engaged will have, by contrast, a much less extensive digital footprint that will be clear to course and department heads. Highlighting this early enough in the student’s career means intervention can be sought early enough to ensure that the student can be re-engaged and success achieved further down the line. Data provides decision making, and in EdTech it can be the difference between student success and failure.
Crowdsourcing provides universities with a way to engage and motivate students to contribute ideas and content for apps that benefit students, faculty, alumni, guests and those students being recruited. Again, this isn’t a new concept, but it’s a new application for the idea within our universities – using the collective brainpower of the student population to develop new and innovative mobile apps. If student engagement is the name of the game, then involving the students in the creation of apps they want to use themselves is certain to provide the desired outcome. Those universities that are working towards the digital campus will be putting more of this into practice in 2017.
And last but not least, MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – those courses that are made available to a huge number of people over the Internet. This trend seems to be as perennial as the grass. Every year we talk about their growth in numbers, but the simple reality is that as our campuses digitise, there will be more MOOCs and more recipients of them. So look out for more of them in 2017.
What are your predictions for 2017?