Home » Education Technology » Using edtech to empower the learning experience
Future of EdTech Q1 2022

Using edtech to empower the learning experience

iStock / Getty Images Plus / AntonioSolano

Charles McIntyre

Co-Founder of EdTechX and CEO & Co-Founder, IBIS Capital

The ‘World of Tomorrow’ was the theme and, at the height of the event, to a packed standing room only audience, Elektro was launched – the walking talking robot, proudly boasting, ‘my brain is bigger than yours.’

The year was 1939 and New York City had just put on the largest exposition in US history. Although Elektro was a marvel to all who saw it, it was merely an extension of a limited number of human capabilities, the culmination of which was the smoking of a cigarette!

The untapped potential of technology

The parallel to our own time is that we are again faced with the fabled riches of technological wizardry. No more so than in education where we deliver curriculum into the palm of a student’s hand pretty much anywhere on the planet, at a time of their choosing.

This may seem a great achievement and, during the lockdowns of COVID-19, a necessity to keep some form of education ticking over, however, this is ultimately lazy edtech. In the same way Elektro robot blew smoke in our faces, we are blowing out the same old material, just in a more accessible way. Education doesn’t get better just because you can press rewind endlessly on the bus home.

The challenge is how to use technology in a way that addresses the way we learn.

Improving the way we learn

The challenge is how to use technology in a way that addresses the way we learn. Today, we understand so much more about the science and experience of learning. We need to move the role of edtech away from knowledge transfer to the empowerment of the learning experience.

We already have a huge toolkit; gamification, adaptive content, virtual reality, AI and analytics. We now need to take these tools and create a learning experience that responds to all the human dimensions of learning – tools that engage, inspire, excite, interact, learn and motivate in a holistic way, bespoke to the individual. Most importantly, it should not be served up in an unorganised smorgasbord but arranged so as to create an efficacious learning experience.

Embracing learning science

The experience of learning is what transforms the transfer of knowledge from a meandering visit to the museum of ideas to a living body of useful information that allows the human brain to flourish. We need to embrace the best of learning science with the best of learning technology rather than try and use technology to recreate what we already have. The ‘World of Tomorrow’ is the world of experience, learning and empathy powered by technology.

Next article