Education technology (EdTech or simply edtech) has had a bumpy ride over the years.
Debuting to much fanfare back in the early days of the Internet, it has struggled to live up to its promise of democratizing education access while dramatically reducing costs. One could argue that it has done both, and has in addition expanded educational opportunities for nontraditional learners and childhood/young adult learners alike.
Regardless, the sense among those “in the know” is that edtech’s results haven’t yet matched its promise. But the sense among those “in the know” is also that this could change soon. Let’s take a look at six edtech trends that could move the industry forward in 2023 and beyond, benefiting learners everywhere.
1. AI-Enabled Exam Preparation
High-speed Internet made exam preparation far more efficient than it was in the days of paper textbooks and study guides. However, it’s not nearly as personalized as it could be, and many programs simply don’t acknowledge the diversity of student learning styles.
That’s slowly changing thanks to firms like PhysicsWallah, an edtech unicorn that’s rapidly innovating in the K-12 exam prep space. The slightly longer-term dream is a truly personalized exam prep experience supported by next-gen artificial intelligence — if not artificial general intelligence, then at least something more flexible than current-run generative models.
2. Immersive Learning Experiences With Augmented Reality
The “pivot to the Metaverse” has stalled out for now, and truly immersive virtual reality remains some ways off. (If it ever comes.) A more realistic near-term goal, and one with tremendous promise for education technology providers, is augmented reality (AR) education tools.
AR edtech’s applications are virtually limitless. They apply inside the classroom, adding depth and context to ordinary lessons, as well as in-the-field experiential learning. Technology will be the limiting factor; current AR glasses and wearables aren’t quite where educators would like them to be. But in a few years, the landscape could look different.
3. Experiential Learning (Outside the Classroom)
Experiential learning doesn’t need to rely on or even involve AR, even if AR has great potential to enrich it. We have the technology right now to support high-tech experiential learning. AI-enabled apps that can recognize plants, animals, and other natural features are rapidly improving and could soon replace textbooks in many contexts. More traditional edtech apps already support in-the-field STEM lessons, from practical mathematics to basic physics.
4. Generative AI Integrated Into Assignments & Instruction
ChatGPT’s release sparked panic in the education industry. Once generative AI proved that it could pass graduate-level exams and produce high-quality essays for high school and university students, teachers worried about an explosion of plagiarism and cheating.
So far, this hasn’t been borne out. Originality detectors are keeping pace with generative AI for now, and frequent downtime makes programs like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard unreliable for assignments with tight deadlines.
Even more encouraging is the fact that many educators are leaning into generative AI, seeing it as a way to improve experiential learning and personalization. Look for edtech app developers to build this capability into future versions.
5. Hyper-Personalized Learning
This won’t happen overnight, but the AI revolution has the potential to deliver hyper-personalized (even individualized) lessons to students at greater scale than human teachers can. There will always be a role for humans in lesson planning and delivery, of course, but they’ll increasingly act as troubleshooters, guides, and mentors for students learning at their own pace and in their own style.
6. Gamified Lessons & Exam Prep
“Gamification” in edtech was all the rage a few years ago. You don’t hear about it as much now. But that’s not because its momentum has slowed (quite the opposite) or that it’s somehow irrelevant in the current technological landscape.
It’s more that gamification is increasingly the default approach to educational apps these days, and there’s greater awareness among developers and consumers of this fact. Yet education app developers continue to find new ways to gamify exam prep and self-paced lesson apps. Parallel trends like augmented reality and AI could quicken the pace of innovation here.
Education for All?
Education technology has advanced over the years, but progress hasn’t always happened in a straight line. There’s still a great deal of unfulfilled potential in the space — potential that educators and technologists everywhere hope to realize in the near future.
These ongoing and emerging edtech trends could help fulfill that goal. And that would be a great thing for learners of all ages, everywhere.