Edutech - the education saviour?
08 September, 2023
Successful class engagement and successful marketing both rely on a solid understanding of your audience.
At first glance, you might think there’s not much similarity between teaching a class how to do fractions and developing an advertising campaign for, say, a new toothpaste or professional services company. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll see there are parallels.
Successful class engagement and successful marketing both rely on a solid understanding of your audience. What makes them tick? What are their pain points and challenges? What is their preferred communication style? Sound familiar?
But you can’t hope to be successful in either without getting this knowledge up front. The crucial difference is that in marketing we can segment our audiences and tailor our channel and message but in education your audience is a class – a heterogenous melting pot of different ability levels, learning styles and preferences, all listening in real time to one (or two, if they’re lucky!) teacher.
Current issues facing education and teachers
In my previous role I worked for a major international education publisher, and I was lucky enough to visit schools in a range of countries. One of the recurring challenges teachers would bring to us was how to support learners across a range of ability levels in, thanks to budget cuts, increasingly large classes. Teaching a range of students, from those who needed a lot of support and reinforcement to those who were comfortable and needed more challenging activities, and juggling the needs of their increasingly large, diverse cohorts takes up a lot of teacher’s time.
If it takes up so much time, why do it at all? From my own experience, I know how different children can be – even if they have the same parents. My son is extremely academic, loves logic, right answers and enjoys the challenge of tests. On the flip side, my daughter can struggle academically as a creative and lateral thinker who finds tests incredibly stressful, but she completely comes alive when she’s telling a story.
The way my son learns best is very different to my daughter – if they’re both taught in the same way, only one of them will thrive. And this is where individualised learning becomes so important. Without individualised learning, you risk deepening the attainment gap and putting students at a disadvantage. But how do you balance the needs of the individual learner with the time it takes to deliver personalised learning to a class of potentially over 30 learners? Is edutech the future of ensuring differentiated teaching to ensure pupil success?
How edutech can help teachers, students and parents
As digital technologies become ever more widespread in the classroom, using it to facilitate adaptive, differentiated learning can take some of the strain from teachers so they can focus on what they do best - teaching.
Technology has the ability to increase or decrease question complexity in response to each child’s answer, automatically creating a personalised learning journey through a topic or subject without input from the teacher. This in turn reduces frustration and increases the chances that the learning will be appropriate and impactful for pupils. Teachers can then review learner results; easily identify areas a learner finds challenging which need reinforcement and make a plan to address it by feeding into lesson planning and differentiation activities. Edutech can make reviewing a vast number of individualised results, and spotting trends, easier and less time-consuming than ever before, and even assist with creating lesson plans or activities to address any gaps.
Let’s not fear the future
In a time when there are pressures from all areas - budgets, school inspections, parents, emerging technologies – it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with all this change. Whether you’re a teacher, parent or someone working in the education or technology industries we ultimately all want the same thing. Happy children who receive appropriate, inspiring learning from teachers who are in their stride. A number of things need to happen to achieve this, from ensuring the quality of edutech products is up to scratch, their implementation is well-managed, and that teachers have the time and resource to securing the relevant training and CPD to improve their teaching. No one sector is responsible for all these facets, but from what I’ve seen from the world of edutech it’s looking very exciting.
If you work in the world of education or edutech and want to talk about how we can help you with your products and services, website, branding or communications - get in touch with us today. We’ve done it for High Performance Learning, Bedrock Learning, Cambridge Dictionary and more, so you’ll be in good company.