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How ed-tech is democratising learning

Rahul Subramaniam is co-founder and managing director, Athena Education

Education is paving the way for students who have limited access to high-quality education with ed-tech gaining momentum. By utilizing the power of technology, ed-tech is democratizing academic resources and making them more accessible to a wider range of students, transforming the way we learn. The evolution of pedagogical practices has revolutionized the way teachers and students interact, fostering a more engaging and interactive learning experience. Furthermore, as students seek to enhance their skills in their respective fields, ed-tech is providing an avenue for anyone to learn a new language, code, or pursue professional courses from top universities with ease.

Here are some platforms that provide learners with high-quality educational resources:

1. Online Learning Platforms

Platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and edX offer various courses and resources for learners of all ages and backgrounds. For students who do not have access to quality education, which limits their career opportunities, ed-tech is making it possible for them to acquire skills and knowledge, thus closing the skill gap. Udacity is one platform that provides computer science, data science, and artificial intelligence courses, aiming to equip students with the skills required for jobs in the tech industry.

These online learning platforms provide learners with access to courses from top universities and institutions worldwide. For example, Coursera offers over 5,000 courses from top universities such as Yale, Stanford, and the University of Michigan, many of which are free.  

2. Personalized Learning

Ed-tech is changing that by providing adaptive learning technology that can adjust the pace and difficulty of the material to suit each student’s needs. Machine learning algorithms form the basis of this technology, which analyzes students’ performance and offers feedback to assist them in improving. A recent National Education Policy Center study found that personalized learning can improve academic outcomes, especially for low-performing students.

One example of adaptive learning technology is DreamBox Learning, a math learning platform for K-8 students. The platform uses an intelligent adaptive learning engine that adjusts the difficulty of the content based on student performance. The power of adaptive learning technologies in providing personalized learning experiences can help students achieve their full potential.

 3. AI-powered tools for students with disabilities

AI-powered tools have enormous potential to improve the accessibility of learning materials for students with disabilities. For example, text-to-speech technology can help students with visual impairments to access written material by converting text into spoken language. Similarly, speech-to-text technology can help students with hearing impairments access spoken material by converting speech into written text.

Natural language processing technology can be used to help students with language processing disorders to better understand complex sentences and phrases. AI-powered virtual assistants can also provide personalized learning experiences and support for students with disabilities.

4.  Gamification

Gamification involves using game design elements to make learning more engaging and interactive. This approach is proven effective in increasing student motivation and improving learning outcomes. For instance, Duolingo, an ed-tech language learning platform, uses gamification to make learning a new language fun and interactive. Students earn points and unlock levels as they progress, which motivates them to continue learning.

 5.  Open educational resources (OER)

Educators and institutions often create and share these resources to make education more accessible and affordable. OERs are freely available digital resources, such as textbooks, videos, and quizzes, that anyone can use and reuse.

According to a report by the Babson Survey Group, OERs have increased significantly in recent years, with 62% of faculty now aware of OERs and 18% using them in their courses. One example of an OER is OpenStax, a nonprofit organization that produces peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks for college and high school courses. These textbooks are accessible in several formats, including PDF, EPUB, and HTML.

Conclusion:

ed-tech is reforming the conventional limitations of time and space in education, empowering students to learn at their own pace and convenience. The significance of ed-tech has been further underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has provided essential remote learning opportunities and ensured that no student is left behind. As ed-tech continues to advance and refine, it holds immense potential to cultivate  a more inclusive and accessible education system, enabling every student.

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