3 Relevant Edtech Trends for Startups
Imagine if an edtech startup wanted to revive the classic card catalog files once found in school libraries.
The reason? Because the startup thinks the wooden drawers are quaint. Never mind that no one, not even librarians, wants to return to card catalogs and the Dewey Decimal system.
Not surprisingly, the startup would likely fail because it isn’t relevant. Relevancy is about being connected to what others need and want. Relevancy is usefulness. Edtech startups that want to be relevant in today’s world of technology must consider how they will address relevancy.
Without relevancy, no edtech startup can be successful.
It’s not the tech; it’s the tool
Technology by itself is nothing. When delivered into the hands of competent and creative users, however, technology becomes a tool to perform a task.
Many classrooms, for example, use interactive whiteboards (IWB) throughout the day. The screens engage students who can manipulate elements on the board. By themselves, IWBs do not instruct. They are a tool that makes learning experiential.
What has made the IWB a mainstay in classrooms is not its novelty; it’s the relevancy that has made the interactive whiteboard a necessity.
No tech tool does the job by itself. If relevant, digital devices spark learning at the hands of the student using them.
Solutions are consumer-driven and customer-oriented
Consumers know what they want. It’s up to edtech startups to be relevant and provide it. Along the way, it’s easy to confuse the customer (the school or school district) with the consumer (the teacher). Sometimes, teachers are the customers, and their students are the consumers.
According to SharpScholar CEO Jawwad Siddiqui, identifying the difference can make or break an edtech startup when it’s ready to scale up.
The hottest edtech trends
Relevance is trend-worthy.
According to ISTE, some of the hottest edtech trends include addressing new ways of thinking and learning, and providing novel yet effective solutions in addressing them. Schools and businesses are driving some of these trends:
· Computational thinking. Quickly becoming one of the basic subjects necessary for developing higher order thinking skills, computational thinking (CT) has become a new thinking strategy. CT is applicable in almost every subject because of its versatility. Students learn concrete and abstract thinking while constructing, generalizing, and evaluating.
· Professional learning. The traditional isolated trainings of the past are no longer relevant for busy professionals. Today’s professional development must be hands-on and relevant to the learners who need ample time to practice their new skills on the job. Authentic professional learning (PL) opportunities have grown significantly in the past few years because embedded learning is more effective than whole group sessions that take place away from the job.
· Simulation. Simulated experiences are changing the classroom. Imagine taking a trip to the space station or swimming with sharks. Teachers incorporate augmented and virtual reality experiences in a variety of ways, from exploring historical sites and visiting college campuses to studying the circulatory system and ecosystems. AR/VR and mixed reality allow students to engage in experiences where cost and safety concerns would normally prohibit such activity.
Edtech startups must consider how they will connect with others in a digital world of tech tools and consumer need. Without first establishing relevance, there is little likelihood of enduring success.