Within the past decade, innovations in digital technology have improved the tools people use for learning. From YouTube courses that teach parenting skills to apps like Writing Wizard that monitor the progress of children learning to write letters and numbers, technology makes learning easier and more widely accessible. These days, educational technology companies continue to empower families whose circumstances prevent them from accessing education, such as children from remote areas, students with financial struggles, and individuals with learning disabilities.
Here are a few inspiring Edtech companies that are transforming the educational landscape.
Educational systems that used to cater to neurotypical children tended to leave students with special needs behind. Luckily, technology has made it easier to address the many different needs students might have. Study.com, an Edtech website that provides online courses through 4-6 minute videos, made sure to design features that could accommodate the needs of special education students. Their features strive to make content accessible for anyone with difficulty learning. Their videos include closed captions and organized transcripts to help students that are hard of hearing. Additionally, lessons come with visual demonstrations to illustrate complex abstract concepts in science and mathematics. To address the needs of students with limited attention capacity, Study.com also included speed controls, as well as an automatic progress bar designed to keep viewers motivated. Progress at Study.com can be transferred as college credits, which gives special needs students an avenue to further their education at their own pace.
The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted the inequities through online learning opportunities that make education significantly more accessible, not every child has access to the internet. To provide education to students in remote and low-income areas, New Globe puts teacher tablets in the hands of local instructors. Every teacher tablet comes with a teaching guide that instructors can use to plan out each day’s lesson. This allows teachers from remote areas to provide lessons designed using the company’s pedagogical research. New Globe has used this technology to accelerate literacy in low-income counties like Nigeria and Liberia. So far, they’ve raised literacy rates from 25% to 75%,
increased public school enrollment by 17%, and doubled the attendance rates of teachers in a single classroom year.
Sometimes, poor finances can prevent students from accessing quality education. To make high-quality education more accessible, many top universities have provided educational content online for free or for a small price. The platform Coursera hosts many of these online lessons. Usually, courses in Coursera are free to take, but students can also pay a small fee for additional privileges, such as graded homework and an official certificate of completion that can be included in their resume. This way, students who cannot attend traditional colleges can build their skills under top universities while also boosting their chances of getting employed.
With turbulent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear when face-to-face interactions will become fully safe. Fortunately, electronics company Viewsonic has developed hybrid learning solutions that can help accommodate students during this transition period. Their portable monitors have screen-sharing capabilities teachers can use to simultaneously teach both students online remotely and students physically present in the classroom. Collaborative digital whiteboards enable all students, no matter their physical location, to participate in classroom discussions.
There’s still a lot of inequality in education, especially when it comes to special education students, low-income individuals, and children from remote communities. Fortunately, technology can act as a great equalizer, providing educators and related service providers with the tools they need to make their reach more widespread.