4 Ways Technology Is Making Education More Affordable and Available
A report found that global ed-tech companies raised $2.34 billion in funding in 2014, up from $1.64 billion in 2013. Here are the top ways those investments are changing the world:
1. Improving access.
Global access to basic education is a major problem. Almost 58 million children of elementary school age and approximately 63 million middle school-aged preteens worldwide were not enrolled in school in 2012, areport published in January 2015 by UNICEF noted.
Educators around the world are using technology to increase access to education. Pencil, a nonprofit organization in US, is leveraging technology and community involvement to impact urban schools, paving the way for struggling school systems in cities worldwide.
The organization forms partnerships between local businesses, schools, and volunteers to improve academic outcomes, prepare students for college, and invest students and families in their education. The model has impacted more than 220,000 children, the organization’s 2012report indicates.
2. Overcoming cost.
One of the largest barriers to education is cost. As the cost of education rises, many public school teachers are left to pick up the tab.Ed-tech is helping to relieve some of the financial burden. A pioneering crowdfunding site, DonorsChoose.org, enables educators to post their needs and seek donations. Requests range from simple supplies such as pencils and paper to more expensive items such as hydrogen fuel cells for students learning about alternative energy.
Since it was founded in 2000, the site has raised more than $300 million and benefitted about 14 million students, claims the company website.
3. Restructuring the classroom.
Education technology is changing the way teachers teach and students learn. In place of the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, we have witnessed the rise of “flipped classrooms” leveraging blended online and offline instruction, where students watch video lectures at home and do their “homework” in class.
4. Skills training.
Ed-tech solutions also provide education to adults who want to improve their job skills, learn new skills or receive higher education at a lower cost.
For instance, Udacity offers affordable higher education options. The company provides massive open online courses that focus on teaching tech skills needed by the top employers in the Silicon Valley. A range of technology skills are in short supply today, and Udacity is working to bridge the skills gap.
Pluralsight also provides accessible training for tech professionals. The site offers a professional library of 3,000 course written by more than 600 authors for developers around the world looking to expand their skills.
By developing education alternatives, these companies are ensuring that every student, regardless of age or location, can compete in a 21st century economy.