This year, as we had in 2015, we attended the London Bett Show as exhibitors. Embedded in ICEX’s delegation along with other Spanish EdTech companies, we brought BlinkLearning’s latest products and advancements to Europe’s most relevant education and technology trade fair.
From our time in London, based on what we saw on the show floor and the meetings we held with other industry professionals, we would highlight three major trends:
More technology and less education
Bett is an acronym which stands for British Educational Training and Technology Show, but every year it seems that technology is gaining ground over the educational part of the event. And this is decreased focus on education represents a new direction for the show that warrants consideration.
If we want technology to improve education as a whole, we should not be keeping educators at bay at industry events. Any technology, be it software or hardware, must be integrated naturally into learning methodologies, and for this purpose the teachers’ feedback is invaluable.
Building powerful tools means very little if, in the end, they are not useful to teachers
High expectations for learning analytics tools
In several meetings with publishers, teachers, journalists and other industry stakeholders two words were constantly coming up: Learning Analytics. As in every field, trends that have the potential to change the industry emerge from time to time. Some remain and some dissipate but, in the case of Learning Analytics tools, it does seem likely to dominate the sector’s debates for some time to come.
Defining Learning Analytics
The main idea behind Learning Analytics tools is the massive collection of raw data students generate and leave behind during the learning process (time spent completing exercises, number of attempts used, goals achieved under a given methodology, etc.), and its subsequent analysis. The ultimate aim of the technology is identifying potential improvements in the learning process or in the resources’ design itself.
Used correctly, it can be extremely useful for teachers and publishers alike, for it allows the former to gauge their method’s success rate and determine which students are struggling when compared to the class average; and the latter to measure their content’s suitability.
In this context, data is collected through technology applied to education (such as LMS applications, digital exercises, etc.) and the biggest challenge lies in selecting which variables better measure a specific ocurrence in order to avoid getting lost in a sea of data.
Learning analytics are bound to have a major impact on education
Adaptive learning, an ongoing process
Adaptive learning is a methodology that aims to adjust itself according the students’ learning pace, providing content which is better suited to address their individual needs.
We at BlinkLearning had high expectations to see what would be shown at Bett in terms of solutions for Adaptive Learning. However, despite all that has been elaborated upon this methodology, we did not see many companies dedicated entirely to it.
Perhaps the difficulty in implementing it in actual classes can be a deterrent but, in any case, we’ll keep a close eye on its evolution.