As educators and administrators, we often find ourselves in a place of keeping up with the edtech Joneses “down the block” or in neighboring districts. It’s always illuminating to discover what the landscape of tech in the classrooms looks like outside our usual circles in other parts of the world, and what the current international edtech trends are.
Experts in the edtech industry share their insights and thoughts about the state of tech in the international classroom, both where it is now and where it is heading.
International Edtech Trends: Edtech in Asia
“Since the pandemic, many countries have invested heavily in enhancing digital infrastructure and integrating technology into classrooms,” says Michael Campbell, founder and president of Advancing Global EDU. “They have implemented initiatives such as hybrid and online learning platforms, smart classrooms, and integration of virtual and augmented reality.”
China, South Korea, and Singapore have all boosted comprehensive technology infrastructure in schools and universities, with a focus on digital learning platforms, personalized learning, and STEM education. India has witnessed a significant rise in the adoption of edtech, with initiatives to reach remote and underserved areas.
“Look for AI lesson planning that is aligned with local and state standards and individualized to the teacher’s classroom and students,” says Campbell. “We are already seeing tutoring that is individualized using AI. We can see that becoming even more commonplace using hardware and software such as robots and deepfake video.”
Edtech in Europe and the UK
We can expect to see similarities between North American and European and UK program aims.
“Nordic countries, particularly Finland and Sweden, have been leaders in education technology integration,” says Campbell. “They have implemented blended learning models, interactive digital resources, and focused on developing digital literacy skills among students.”
Popular aims of many American districts can be seen going “next level” across the pond.
“In England there is the complete paperless classroom,” says Campbell. “At the Essa Academy in Bolton, all students are given an iPad and the classrooms are smart classrooms. Students design their own courses.”
3 Areas of Rapid Growth and Development in International Edtech
- Online learning platforms: The demand for online learning platforms continues to increase, driven by the convenience and accessibility they offer.
- Adaptive learning technologies: Adaptive learning technologies, including personalized learning algorithms, are gaining traction. These technologies use machine learning and data analytics to tailor educational content and experiences to individual learners, optimizing learning outcomes.
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications: The integration of VR and AR into education is expanding rapidly. These immersive technologies offer interactive and engaging learning experiences, enabling students to explore simulations, conduct virtual experiments, and enhance their understanding of complex subject matters.
Edtech in the Middle East
Clearly, it is challenging to hone in on just one portion of such a large and diverse region as there are more than 2,000 international schools in the Middle East, over 800 in the EAU, and 1,593 International Private Schools in the GCC alone. However common themes abound in how edtech is being used now and developments for the future.
“We are seeing strong interest in online programs expanding to schools. Schools are looking for ways to consolidate solutions which provide data for administrators,” says George DeBakey, president of DeBakey International. “Gaming and esports are becoming key markets throughout the Middle East, while AI remains a key priority in UAE and Saudi Arabia. The GEMS Dubai Academy school has a Center for Robotics and AI. The GEMS organization has five centers and owns 45 schools in the UAE.”
DeBakey notes four areas of rapid growth in edtech he sees in the future: professional development, STEM, AI, and social emotional learning and wellbeing.
AI is a hot topic anywhere in the world, but some unique things are happening in this region.
“AI is a technology that is changing weekly. But in places like the Middle East, the education business is forecast to grow to $7.6 billion by 2027 around these technologies (according to ReportLinker),” says Campbell. “In fact, KITMEK is the Middle East’s first interactive digital school taught by an AI teacher.”
KITMEK offers the core curriculum and optional classes in phonics, life skills, communication skills, and financial literacy. The school operates exclusively in the metaverse and offers students a global curriculum from kindergarten to grade 5 for just $1 per month.
Increasing accessibility and affordability are key factors leaning on tech, in the Middle East and beyond.
Edtech Making the World a Small Place After All
One of the biggest benefits of edtech becoming commonplace and even more widely used is the access it offers students in remote areas. Much as Khan Academy opened the world of education and knowledge to the masses, regardless of location or socioeconomic situation, these new developments can open doors to learners who were otherwise at great disadvantage.
“By combining AI and blockchain technology, many private tutoring and tutoring companies are using these technologies to help students succeed,” says Campbell. “You are seeing the implementation of 5G phones in areas around the world taking advantage of this bandwidth to deliver new technologies to schools where they have not been available before. Access to learning is now available to kids and educators in remote regions, and areas that are economically challenged.”
Campbell and Debakey are scheduled to be presenters at Tech & Learning’s upcoming EdExec Summit, a new event that brings together senior executives from companies serving the K-12 industry for a three-day networking conference dedicated to the business of education.