What will edtech look like in 2030?
3 Oct 2022
Between now and 2030, education will undergo a dramatic technological transformation. Traditional education systems based on textbooks, offline course materials, and in-person teaching methods will be replaced with new, edtech-based learning systems.
What is edtech?
Edtech refers to the incorporation of technologies such as AI, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), blockchain, and cloud computing into educational processes. It impacts schools, higher education institutions, businesses, and lifelong learners.
Language-learning app Duolingo, cloud-based course materials, and VR headsets to train medics might not have much in common on paper. However, all three can be classified as examples of edtech.
In 2030, AI, cloud computing, VR and AR, 5G, and blockchain will be the key technologies that digitalize education in schools, universities, and the workplace.
For example, course management and administration will be fully digitalized by 2030. 5G, 6G, and cloud computing will be the infrastructure upon which convenient and collaborative online learning relies. Firstly, improved connectivity, underpinned by 5G and 6G networks, will make online learning more accessible to remote students. Secondly, cloud computing will enable paper-based learning materials to be digitalized, making centralized digital libraries of shared materials available to anyone with cloud access. Cloud computing will also enable students and teachers to communicate in real-time and work simultaneously on shared files.
In addition, AI and blockchain will make course management and administration more efficient. AI-based assessment software will simplify teachers’ jobs by automating simple administrative tasks such as marking and grading. AI tutors will also help students in real-time by detecting errors in their work and helping students to correct them. Blockchain will enable the digital verification of academic certificates, diplomas, and transcripts. It will also help to automate course management: smart contracts will automatically unlock new lessons and projects once a student meets specific criteria.
In 2030, lessons and apparatus will also be transformed. The physical classroom and whiteboard will be replaced with interactive lessons accessed via VR and AR headsets. Simulations will enable students to learn and practice skills, while vibrant graphics and gamified lessons will better capture and retain students’ attention.
The metaverse will be the edtech platform of the future
By 2030, the metaverse will provide VR and AR-based learning supported by cloud-based course materials and the AI and blockchain-based automation systems detailed earlier. The price of VR and AR headsets will decrease significantly between now and 2030, and expanded 5G networks will provide the ultra-low latency needed to deliver high-quality metaverse experiences.
Metaverse-based education has much to offer. Firstly, it will marry the flexibility of remote learning with the immersion of a physical classroom by delivering lessons in virtual and augmented reality. According to Professor Esteve Almirall from the Esade Business School in Barcelona, people train four times faster in the metaverse than in the classroom; they are 275% more confident to apply skills learned after training, and four times more focused than their e-learning peers. Secondly, learning and interacting in the metaverse will familiarize users with this technology, improving their technical skills and enabling them to identify new ways of monetizing content.
Education will face new challenges
These innovations have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of education, making it more immersive and efficient. However, they will also introduce new challenges to the education sector. Digitalizing learning exposes it to cybercriminals. Shifting education from the physical to the virtual classroom could also exacerbate a growing digital divide between the rich and the poor. By 2030, edtech will improve education in various ways, but could also create problems if it is not implemented in a well-thought-out manner.