As teaching goes online, pandemic puts UK EdTech in the spotlight
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked the world’s largest ever remote learning experiment. With an estimated 1.2 billion children currently out of class across the world, home schooling has proven a steep learning curve for pupils and teachers alike; not to mention parents.
For many, teaching has gone digital, with EdTech offering increasingly creative ways to stay organised, educated and connected online.
Companies of all shapes and sizes have worked closely with educators and government to enable remote learning. With resource support from established platforms such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and the BBC, as well as from smaller start-ups such as Satchel, Lingumi and Learning People, digital tools have allowed for learning experiences to be just as personal, interactive and fun as in the classroom.
With demand and usage soaring, home schooling is giving the EdTech sector even greater impetus to thrive. With a 22% increase in investment in the first quarter of 2020 alone, it is evident that coronavirus is accelerating the adoption of creative digital solutions.
Even before the outbreak, UK EdTech was growing rapidly. The UK, already an established leader in the field, attracted an impressive 41% of all European investment in 2019, and with investment climbing by 91% from 2018 to 2019, the sector was on course to be valued at £3.4bn by next year, even before the crisis took hold.
“It has been inspiring to see the tenacity and innovation across the education sector as the world has moved to remote learning”, said Cindy Rose, UK CEO of Microsoft. “Continued investment in UK EdTech is a fundamental ingredient for future growth and productivity as well as the UK’s global competitiveness.”
As reported by Credit Suisse, investors have long identified the opportunity offered by education technology, not simply for its profitability but also its crucial social benefits.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister Digital and Culture said “The UK’s world-leading EdTech sector has used its expertise to develop practical solutions and online learning tools for schools, parents and pupils during this challenging time. The work it is doing right now will pave the way for new technology to help shape the future of education in the UK and around the world.”
EdTech is demonstrating what digital learning could look like well beyond lockdown. It has huge potential to democratise access to education around the world, shining a light on how technology can better support education inside and outside the classroom.
“If ever there was a time to reinvent ‘school’ for the better, this is it,” says Sarojani Mohammed, founder of research group Ed Research Works. “I think that there’s an opportunity here to experience how personalised learning and true learner-centred instruction can be accomplished. Parents should consider technology to be a tool for interactive learning, socializing and even wellbeing.”
For many, the future of technology in education does not rely solely on creating new, exciting and innovative tools, but in thinking about how technology can make digital learning accessible and equal for all. To that end, the Department for Education recently committed over £100 million to provide digital devices and internet access to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, making sure that every school has access to free, expert technical support.
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated how important technology can be in times of change and uncertainty. In an era of increasing tech use, continuous learning has become even more important to safeguard the jobs of the future. As reported by CNBC, The World Economic Forum has predicted that by 2022 over half of employees will require significant reskilling or upskilling to do their jobs — and that was before Covid-19. As the impact of the pandemic is felt across many business sectors, there is an opportunity for the innovative solutions of EdTech to help people diversify their skillsets.
EdTech recruitment has seen a huge spike recently, not least as it represents one of the few truly pandemic-proof industries. As tech companies all over the world lead the fight against pandemic, the industry will continue to be a strong source of opportunity.
ABL Recruitment team
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