The Changing Landscape of Edtech

August 14, 2020 • Shannon Flynn


When designed carefully and with intention, improved technology can completely transform how educators teach their students. Right now, education is experiencing massive shifts as rapid advancements in technology — like the rapid proliferation of smart devices and the rise of AI and VR — are being adapted for use in schools. Many of these new developments are impressive — and if leveraged correctly, could radically improve education. However, better edtech doesn’t guarantee improved teaching. School staff will need to adapt to the innovative, ever-changing landscape of edtech to see it reach its full transformative potential.

New Frontiers in Edtech

Stakeholders are now beginning to adapt big tech developments of the past few years to education. 

Personalized learning systems, powered by artificial intelligence and new data collection and analysis techniques, can track student progress and help teachers understand how each of their students learn. In some cases, these can even provide one-on-one support in classrooms where teachers can’t spend time tutoring every student.

Augmented and virtual reality systems use computer headsets or overlaid computer-generated imagery to help students learn. Some of these programs help teachers stage virtual field trips, while others can be teaching aids when explaining complex concepts — like how atoms are structured, or how they combine to form molecules.

New technologies, like video lessons and remote teaching systems, can also make classrooms more accessible. They connect guest speakers or teachers with specialized training to students who live in rural or remote areas. These technologies could also strengthen teacher lessons by providing additional information and visual explanations. They might help visual learners better digest complicated topics or unfamiliar material.

However, as impressive as these new pieces of edtech can be, they don’t guarantee better learning. For new technology to be effective, teachers and administrators must commit to adjusting how they approach the classroom and education.

How Teachers and Administrators Will Need to Adapt

Educators wanting to get the most out of edtech may also need to learn new teaching approaches. 

Research has shown that new edtech works best in teaching methods that encourage creativity and play. Instead of using it to improve the efficiency of the “drill and kill” teaching approach, which teachers often use to prepare students for standardized tests. Teachers accustomed to using a learning-by-reception approach may struggle to incorporate edtech effectively and need additional training.

Administrators may also have to work with teachers skeptical of the new edtech — or are afraid that it can to replace them.

Teachers who don’t buy into the potential of new edtech will be less likely to learn how to apply it to their lesson plans and teaching styles. Suppose administrators want to smoothly integrate new technology into their schools. They must support unprepared teachers or less willing to learn how to adapt to these new developments.

Administrators must also prepare for new challenges presented by tech. It’s especially true in schools with systems that store student data on the cloud, where it’s vulnerable to hackers. At these schools, admins will need to become tech-savvy enough to defend their students’ data — or risk the consequences.

Adjusting to the New Landscape of Edtech

Educators are adapting new technologies to the classroom — and they might just change how we approach teaching and education. The latest edtech can stage virtual field trips, strengthen teaching techniques and provide better lessons for visual or kinetic learners. In addition, it can use student data to provide adaptive one-on-one computer tutoring.

However, tech alone won’t be enough. Educators and administrators will both need to work towards integrating new edtech into the classroom. Moreover, they must also prepare themselves for the new challenges posed by advancing technology.