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5 Edtech Trends Shaping Students Outside the Classroom

Sieva Kozinsky

CEO, StudySoup
edtech trends learning education technology

The classroom is dead. Hear us out before you sigh in disbelief.

Educators everywhere are trying to engage students in innovative ways. The only problem is that classrooms are often the last places that new innovations reach because unfortunately, school administrators are slow to allow new technologies within their schools. Therefore, some of the most innovative trends in edtech are happening elsewhere. In fact, many schools are struggling to keep up with the rapidly developing edtech market as digital natives are brought into classrooms around the world.

2016 is going to be a year of learning outside the classroom as edtech advances faster than schools can incorporate technology into the classroom.

Here are the top five edtech trends we’ve seen that will dominate the year to come and the edtech companies that are leading the way:

#1 DIY Learning — Video

Students are naturally curious about the world around them, and knowledge is always a search and a click away for digital natives. The do-it-yourself video trend started as a supplement for students struggling in the classroom but has taken flight as a stand-alone method of education.

Many have already found Khan Academy, a website that allows students to choose in-depth videos based on topics that interest them. Khan Academy’s website claims,

“We can take control of our ability to learn. We can all become better learners. We just need to build our brains in the right way.”

A digital library containing courses ranging from personal finance to organic chemistry fill Kahn Academy’s digital halls. Educators are beginning to integrate similar videos into their curriculums much like teachers used to bring in Bill Nye videos to teach magnetism and weather systems.

YouTube has become a titan in the field of DIY video as subject matter experts make reviews, tutorials, and introductions to almost any topic. Educators often encourage learning outside the classroom because the common core does not expand upon many skills students will need to know as adults like filing taxes, saving for retirement, or even cooking dinner. Education will soon be synonymous with exploration as learning new skills becomes as easy as pressing play.

#2 Coding Boot Camps

Boot camps have developed primarily to inspire young people to get involved in the digital space, and coding boot camps continue to evolve in a way that will likely start to steal some of the market share from traditional four-year institutions. Students around the world are starting to ask themselves,

“Why should I pay for a four-year computer science education if it doesn’t increase my job potential?”

Web-development boot camps have sprung up across the globe to train the next generation of coders and hackers. App Academy does a 12-week boot camp that has been able to “place 98 percent of graduates in software development jobs at top tech companies.” App Academy has found processes that work for teaching students every day.

These boot camps are no longer being seen as a mere supplement to the normal school environment. We’re seeing students leverage coding boot camps to pivot their careers and even skip college entirely by diving into their future careers.

#3 Gamified Learning

Finding fun ways to learn complex materials is an amazing way to trick our brains into learning. People naturally love to learn new things but are often scared of the vast unknown when facing a new topic like a foreign language. Gamified-learning websites use the theory of proximal development to give students information in bite-sized pieces to develop new skills.

Code Academy makes the process of learning how to read and write code less daunting with various programming languages. Duolingo uses a similar process to help its users learn foreign languages. The classroom edition of Duolingo allows teachers to track their students’ advancement and subsequently develop more personalized lesson plans.

The next step in Gamified Learning is Virtual Reality, which is poised to take over the education landscape with the release of the Oculus Rift to the public. Immersive training scenarios that can be gamified will capture the minds and attention of students worldwide. Keep an eye out for these two companies in this space: Immersive VR Education and Virtalis.

Gamified learning is one of the hottest topics we’ve seen in the investment and startup community, and we’re excited to see new ways entrepreneurs will “trick” students into learning while having fun.

#4 Community-Based Learning

Digital communities give students networks to rely on when a simple Google search won’t do. Whether an idea went over their heads or they were asleep in class, students can lean on the community to help them gain understanding of course materials. StudySoup has developed a network of Elite Notetakers, students who write detailed notes of each class they attend and make them available for their classmates through the website. Elite Notetakers’ classmates can then find the notes to catch up with their coursework.

Colingo has created a community based on conversational learning because it recognized that immersion is the most effective method of learning a new language. Colingo’s process allows authentic interactions to take place within a private digital space empowering individuals to learn to speak English with confidence. Colingo claims to be the “easiest, most effective way to become fluent in English.”

The idea of a community-based learning process isn’t new. However, certain edtech companies are bringing peer-to-peer learning into the online space, making it more accessible and affordable.

#5 Professional Development

According to the Clear Company, training and development spend has jumped 15% in the last year alone.

The market is hungry for new opportunities centered around profession development.

The existing market of seminars, conventions, and conferences may not always be included in the realm of edtech, but many schools are now offering mock Skype interviews so that students can practice what applying for jobs is like. Skype has published its own list of interview tips to help professionals make the most out of their conversations with future employers, and Looksharp offers resources and training to help students develop their skills as professionals and find internships in fields that interest them.

A new company called Prosky will not only train you to be an professional but also assign projects from real companies to you to aid your professional development. Prosky has also developed a network of company mentors to connect with students during training.

These companies are honing in on the need for a highly trained workforce, and are the antitheses of a liberal arts education. Instead of providing a broad scope of knowledge, these companies provide very specific sets of tools for students.

Key Takeaways

With an abundance of capital going into edtech over the last five years, educators and students can chose from a buffet of options to aid in the learning process. Edtech companies are filling in the gaps where formal education may fall short to take their pieces of the $475 billion spent in higher education and $55 billion spent in adult education every year.

Our predication is that community-based and gamified learning will lead the pack. If you can learn from the best, or put on a headset to download the education you need, who needs a classroom anyways?

Cheers to an exciting future in learning.

Sieva Kozinsky

CEO, StudySoup

Sieva Kozinsky is the CEO and co-founder of StudySoup. Sieva has a unique perspective on running an education company, having started StudySoup in response to frustrations that he and his…

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