In the previous post in this series on technology education, we discussed what EdTech is and how technology is changing education. Continuing our discussion on this topic, we will talk a little about the future of education and the exorbitant growth of edtechs in recent months, driven by socioeconomic issues, but also by social isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to INEP (National Institute for Educational Studies and Research in Brazil), the number of new e-learning students in the higher education segment in Brazil grew 378.9% from 2009 to 2019, while new students in the traditional model grew only 17.8%. This data is representative of a time when there was still no news of the pandemic, which demonstrates that the sector is already showing growth even before the distancing obligation for health reasons.
We’ve mentioned, in previous posts, how the new normal post-lockdown has forced people to adapt to new realities and that many habits we’ve acquired over the past few months have caused definite changes in the way we relate to individuals and things. These changes also reflect the way we use technology today to do even the most everyday activities that were previously done in person, such as meeting friends, shopping, working and studying - our topic today.
The moments of lockdown and social isolation were very difficult, but learning to deal with online education, once optional, now being the only possible way to continue studying, ended up accelerating the process of modernization of education. Most people were forced to learn to use solutions developed by edtechs for educational institutions in order to study remotely.
The truth is that we had to adapt again, and in this re-adaptation process most people ended up discovering several new technological tools, which were unknown so far. The good part is that, once familiarized with the new technologies for education, many started to pursue courses independently in order to productively use the time we were forced to stay at home. The result is that many people ended up changing professions in these long months of quarantine, with 100% online training, or ended up discovering new teaching strategies for their children, which will enable the acceleration of hybrid education in the months that will elapse after the pandemic.
Unfortunately, internet connection and digital inclusion are not a reality for everyone in underdeveloped countries. A massive investment in infrastructure will be necessary to enable the use of these new technologies in education. It is important that actions to solve these inequality issues, evidenced during the pandemic, are made by the responsible governments, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of educational technologies in the future.
What are the advantages of online and hybrid education?
Among the many advantages of the online and hybrid teaching models, we highlight some that we believe to be of great relevance, such as:
- Flexibility and autonomy: the possibility of being able to study during the available time, instead of having to reshuffle professional and personal commitments, is one of the greatest benefits of these models. In addition, the speed of learning is also flexible, allowing you to resume content when needed, or scroll through topics faster when you prefer.
- Online communication and collaboration: the online interaction that distance learning provides tends to develop communication skills in the virtual environment, as result, online communication at work can be improved through the participation of these forums and discussions.
- Diversity of spaces: in the hybrid methodology, there is the benefit of learning in the virtual environment and in physical spaces at the same time, enabling different experiences.
When talking about online education, it is important to stress that we are not just referring to schools or children. In fact, the benefits presented above indicate one of the greatest advantages of expanding online education: the idea of lifelong learning.
What is lifelong learning?
The concept of lifelong learning is not that new. Since the 1960s, when this term was created, the idea has been simple: continuous learning throughout life.
Despite being an old concept, with the boom of edtechs and the demand for online education, lifelong learning has been disseminated again, now adapted to the new job market.
With computerization, and increasingly autonomous and independent professionals, the study-work-retirement structure was broken, making it possible to add, at any time, new training to the curriculum and start new professional trajectories.
Being a lifelong apprentice is something that combines very well with the 21st century professionals, as there is always new knowledge to be acquired and updating needs to be constant in a world where technology is developing so quickly. And this same technology has enabled the construction of new skills for these apprentices/professionals.
Some companies encourage lifelong learning initiatives, establishing partnerships with edtechs or educational institutions for their employees and enabling professional development with a wide range of certification courses, from language learning to specialization or MBA.
The growth of EdTechs
The types of learning mentioned above, and others more, are possible thanks to companies that create technological tools designed for education. In recent years, EdTechs had an exponential growth, which highlights the trend of growth and migration to hybrid and online education.
We are preparing a super special content for you with trends for the edtechs market, but for now, we will pay attention to observing, in general, how this sector is shaping up.
Surely, you’ve already heard or studied on some app by a big international edtech company. Below, we have some of them appearing as great unicorns in the technological education segment:
Source: Edtech Distrito Report 2020
Whether mobile apps to study new languages, like Duolingo, or learning platforms that host professional certification, specialization or master’s courses, such as Coursera, the fact is that edtechs already permeate the path of new professionals, through learning done independently, or through development plans promoted by companies for their employees.
In Brazil, the sector is also heating up and the UOL EdTech group is one of the great representatives of the growth of this segment, creating solutions for digital educational institutions and for corporate education. The company recently announced the purchase of another famous edtech in the country, Passei Direto, which is a famous online portal for educational content shared by students and teaching experts.
Success cases in edge computing for edtechs
At Azion we have some success cases in educational technology. With the infrastructure of our edge computing platform, educational institutions have been able to deliver great results and educational content to their students and teachers in recent months.
Some edtechs or digital education institutions may face some problems when delivering their content and our goal is to facilitate this delivery in the best possible way.
With the adoption of an edge computing platform, it is possible to accelerate the delivery of content, such as streaming and downloading videos with high availability and resilience, in addition to ensuring cybersecurity for students and teachers across the entire learning platform.
For high definition videos to be streamed with maximum performance to multiple locations, for example, it is possible to add an intermediate cache layer with Azion L2 Caching, in which content is replicated and can be made available for long periods of time, regardless of purges and caching updates.
With regard to cyber security for professionals and students involved in digital education, it is possible to protect personal data, or other specific content, through Azion Edge Functions with the implementation of authentication and access authorization. In addition, our Edge Firewall allows the development of advanced protection rules to expand real-time access control, contributing to the availability of the learning platform in the midst of complex security events.
Edtechs and educational institutions, therefore, need to think about the challenges and trends that online education will bring in the coming years, and ensure that their students have an optimized and uninterrupted usage experience, guarantee of information security and full engagement during the use of teaching tools. For that, they must consider all the benefits of Edge Computing and its applications to address all these challenges in an agile way and take advantage of all the trends for this market.
Curious to know how we can help improve the performance and security of your edtech or educational institution? You can create a free account to try our products and services today. Or, if you prefer, contact our team of experts and find out which Azion solutions are best for your company.