Andrew+Roberts%2C+Ciena+AustraliaIn Australia, the use of technology in the classroom is not new. Today, it is more than just offering electronic versions of traditional textbooks or allowing the use of tablets in schools.

According to the Australian Trade and Industry Commission, education technology – or edtech – is the provision of technology solutions for education purposes, and it has the potential to reshape the way we learn. Specifically, the benefits of edtech include:

  • Supporting and improving the provision of online learning
  • Allowing connections with customer segments that are not easily engaged in classroom learning, such as adult learners with established careers
  • Supporting large-scale improvements in labour productivity, particularly for non-classroom based education
  • Enabling assessment at scale and with integrity
  • Increasing student engagement and retention
  • Enabling personalised and adaptive approaches to learning
  • Facilitating lifelong learning

It was estimated that the Australian edtech market will grow to A$1.7 billion by 2022. The Australian EdTech Market Census 2019 also found that the Australian EdTech sector almost doubled in size in two years. The market is expected to grow significantly amidst increasing student demand for education services and technology innovation, competition amongst institutions, and decreasing acquisition costs.

Download%3A+Networks+for+the+Future+of+Education+in+AustraliaUbiquitous and reliable connectivity in Australia have boosted participation in formal and non-formal education. Internet access speed and reliability have improved, allowing content and services enabled by EdTech to grow significantly in the last few years. Some schools are already experimenting with the use of virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance the learning experience. Others are leveraging big data, analytics and artificial intelligence to track learning progress and make real-time adjustments. It is not an exaggeration to say that education is undergoing a tech revolution.

In Australia, we are seeing a number of trends in learning:

  • Video-based learning is increasingly prevalent.  YouTube and other streaming services are valued educational medium
  • High-quality content is consumed in unstructured, typically shorter sessions
  • Collaborative technology is pervasive – Common tools such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Zoom or skype are widely used; Education-focussed Apps (Google Apps for Education, TalkBoard, Padlet, etc.) are growing in use
  • Mixed Reality is growing up; AR and VR are utilised to improve learning outcomes
  • Blended learning – digital technologies enable students and teacher to collaborate remotely with improvements to online learning allowing for a mix of on-campus and off-campus learning
  • Proliferation of online learning platforms

Edtech will redefine how education is resourced and consumed, and ultimately deliver positive results for the individual and society.

But what do we need from the network to make this happen?

We’ll discuss this in part two of the blog series: 4 requirements for networks supporting education in Australia.

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