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Be Edtech Savvy
Technology is making waves and changing the way things are done in all industries – and education is no exception. As education technology, or edtech, develops further, there are several important issues that come up. In particular, those in the industry should know how to enable the success of edtech, what precautions might come up when utilising edtech and finally, how to find and hire the best edtech professionals.
We at Michael Page regularly interact with senior professionals in education-related sectors. Here are some edtech insights that we have picked up from those interactions.
Critical factors to get right to enable edtech success
Whether it is in the form of classroom management software, virtual classrooms, e-learning, virtual tutoring sessions or other technology-enabled learning changes, edtech is about enhancing learning channels, learning methods, and educational administrative processes.
It has several advantages: one is location, or more specifically, the lack of a need for a common location. Edtech can help bring access to learning opportunities to remote or commonly overlooked areas. Secondly, much of edtech content can be used and adopted via different channels, allowing the utilisation of existing teaching materials and content in many different ways.
In order to successfully implement edtech platforms within an organisation, there are several things that must happen.
First, it’s important to build up the right culture within an organisation. As technology evolves, professionals need to catch up, and find support from the organisations behind them. Everyone from administrators to teachers must accept and embrace an open and learning mindset.
Second, organisations must set learning objectives first – then apply edtech. Don’t use edtech just for the sake of it. It’s important to define objectives and then find the right tools to help meet those objectives.
Third, if edtech is applied, it should be utilised across all subjects, rather than only tech-related subjects. This ensures equal learning and development opportunities.
How to maximise the efficiency of edtech
For organisations that are adopting edtech, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure maximum efficiency:
- Use Edtech in conjunction with other tools – such as design thinking, which will likely result in a change of mindset, and a shift in overall thinking.
- Share successful examples of Edtech in use – for example, a group of students who are required to run a drama project from videotaping, writing script to shooting. By adding in elements of edtech, a cross-subject learning experience will be created.
- Allow access to content at anytime, anywhere. This way, content is accessible in students’ preferred environments, such as on a tablet at home.
Things to keep in mind when using edtech
As with any technology, there are a few things to keep in mind when adopting edtech. Here are just a few of them:
If edtech is used efficiently, it can help train students on problem solving skills and ability. However, relying on technology too much may bring up issues when it comes to social and interpersonal skills. Educators must keep an eye on the personal development of students, along with their technical development.
It can make administration of the learning process easier, but some educators have brought up the point that it is difficult to assess what students have actually learnt– something that could be solved by focusing edtech achievement goals on the process, rather than just the outcome.
The rise of edtech can hopefully bring some changes to the relatively stern existing Hong Kong education system. However if edtech is just treated as the add-on item riding on the existing structure, then it may not bring the full benefits of its potential.
In the medium term, a more structured and centralised STEM curriculum should be in place in Hong Kong. Israel’s robust STEM educational system could be used as an example.
Overall, it’s important for organisations to take note: like all technology, education technology should be used as a tool to achieve learning – not as a complete replacement for teachers or the more traditional learning environment.
Find the best edtech professionals on the market
From a hiring perspective for edtech organisations, it can be challenge to find talent with the right skill set to meet hiring needs. Aside from the usual technical skills, here are two things to look out to find the best professionals:
- Look for a passion for technology, rather than absolute technical skills
- Look for a natural ability to translate complicated tech jargon in simple “human” language to those without a tech background, or even to kids.
Overall, in order to help increase the talent pool, the government needs to play a part in building a more complete ecosystem around edtech. For example, in Singapore, the government runs various entrepreneurship programs that promote talent development specifically within this space.
An exciting space to watch closely
Edtech has huge potential in terms of both the potential to help students learn and market opportunities for professionals and businesses. The evolving skillset for professionals in the market being reflected in educational job openings. The trick is to utilise edtech correctly and to help develop an edtech ecosystem that will support innovation and development.
*Insights for this article were taken from discussions at the edtech luncheon hosted by the Michael Page Hong Kong Education team, attended by 30 senior leaders in the education industry. Special thanks to all the participants for the insightful panel and conversation.