The international education sector is undergoing a major disruption following the coronavirus pandemic. In the context of higher education, institutions and their staff, and students and their families alike, all went through the journey of innovation in educational technology.
Key Points at a Glance
- The latest data from UNESCO shows that there were 156 million affected learners worldwide on June 30. This is an improvement as compared to the recorded 1.4 billion affected learners on April 20, 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
- In another UNESCO global survey, 28 countries resorted to hybrid learning during the pandemic.
- The immersive technologies market was forecast to reach $18.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow.
- Nine out of 10 UK educators think hybrid learning is the future.
Data by UNESCO shows that as of June 30, there were 156,692,641 affected learners on all levels. This number represented students who couldn’t not report to school due to closures caused by the pandemic or those who reported to partially open institutions.
While this number is staggering, it already shows a vast improvement as compared to the numbers last April 20, 2020 which recorded 1,437,412,547 billion affected learners. For the tertiary level, affected learners were more than 220 million.
Because of this, UNESCO found out as one of the key findings in its July 15 global survey that the “major impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning is the increase in online education. The hybrid mode of teaching has become the most popular form.”
After decades of unprecedented growth, international education is now undergoing the digitalization of learning with COVID-19 as an “accelerator.” Online learning has expanded from remote education delivery to higher education institutions offering pathways programs where students can begin their studies from their home country before completing it abroad.
The Transformation of EdTech
Education technology (EdTech) has been around for quite some time now, and has made its mark along important points in the history of formal education, like how the use of computers in classrooms was encouraged.
In an online learning setup, EdTech covers different functions needed in the remote learning process. Some of these functions include, teachers creating and giving tasks for students to accomplish in real-time, the delivery of instructions getting better through seamless video communication, and different software available maintaining a student’s attention all throughout the lesson.
The pandemic has given institutions and students alike a sample of what it would be like if the full potential of online learning is unlocked. But then again, compared to the use of technology in other sectors like media and finance, technological innovations in education are still few and far between.
Projections, Examples of Innovations in Education
Today, teachers and students are exposed to numerous digital learning tools. These include, but are not limited to websites, mobile applications, online games and videos or educational software.
In a post-COVID environment, experts are looking forward to a new level of EdTech—one that pushes the boundaries of experiential learning in or outside the classroom. This is when immersive technologies come in: augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. This market alone—which heavily relies on the gaming and entertainment industries—was forecast to reach 18.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. The healthcare and education sectors are expected to help these numbers grow further.
Aside from immersive technologies, other types of innovation in education include artificial intelligence (AI), learning analytics, and gamification of courses, among others.
Does this mean that all these technological innovations in education will send traditional teaching and learning to obsolescence? Educators in the United Kingdom (nine out of 10) believe that both traditional and high-tech means of teaching and learning will be “seamlessly combined in the future.”
Meanwhile, the integration of EdTech into international higher education is expected to come to fruition, and experience tremendous growth sooner than later.
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