Edtech as an industry is growing significantly. Latest figures estimate that the current market is worth almost $70bn, and this is expected to rise to more than $220bn by 2020. In the UK alone, schools spend approximately £900m every year on edtech, and it is used in half of all lessons. It also forms a key part of the UK Government’s vision for education and export strategy.
These figures won’t be a surprise to anyone working in the education or the publishing industries. In fact, both have had to actively look for opportunities to embrace edtech and its potential. It’s certainly something that OUP has been exploring for some time.
That’s why on 30 October, 2017, Joseph Noble, Head of Partnerships & Innovation at OUP joined an event hosted by Byte the Book, about how edtech is enhancing and disrupting publishing. Joining Joseph on the panel were Caroline Wright, Director General at the British Education Suppliers Association, and Darren Hughes, VP of Product at Pamoja Education.
Among the discussions, three themes emerged that are important for both edtech organizations and publishers to consider.
Share and share alike
At its heart, edtech is about building connections. Whether it’s helping learners connect with valuable learning content; connecting schools with new platforms to enhance teaching or plan lessons; or helping schools connect with students, potentially across the world.
But those connections can only be created through collaboration—and that means publishers and edtech organizations combining their knowledge and expertise. While publishers bring content to life in a creative, engaging way, edtech organizations provide solutions to enhance the learning experience. The sum is most definitely greater than the parts.
Use your analytics
One of the biggest benefits of technology is that it is much easier to gather rich customer insight into what is and isn’t working. What do people respond to? What has helped to achieve specific educational outcomes? Where are people losing interest? What tools and resources are the most popular?
This insight mustn’t go to waste. Publishers and edtech companies should use this to measure the positive long-term impact of technology on learning outcomes. And, as tech-based systems are easy to update in real-time, they should use this insight and two-way dialogue to enhance their products and content, to ensure they are as useful and effective as possible.
Simplicity is key
When it comes to choosing resources to help them teach, teachers look for flexibility and simplicity. We all know how time-poor teachers are, so they don’t have time to waste on learning (or figuring out) how to use different technologies and programmes. They need tools that are intuitive, simple to use, and that complement everything they’re already doing. The same can be said for learners; they want a user journey that is easy to navigate, where information can be found easily. And above all, they want something to help them engage in the learning process. When developing tools and content for both teachers and learners, it’s vital to keep human interaction, user experience, and the learning journey front and centre.
The world of edtech will continue to grow and evolve, and we’ll see more disruption coming our way. While education will never become 100% tech-based, we should be prepared for blended learning—combining technology and traditional teaching methods—to become the norm.
At OUP, we recognize how important it is to continually innovate to help more and more people access our content. It can help us to bring educational resources to poorly connected regions across the world; it gives us the chance to enhance the teaching and learning experience; and ultimately it helps us to achieve our mission of supporting excellence in research, scholarship in education.
We have seen first-hand the positive impact of edtech. The more we—and the wider industry—embrace it, the greater impact we can have. That can only be a good thing.
Author: Christine Richardson
Group Senior Communications Manager, Oxford University Press