Mr. Ashish Chaturvedi, Founder – School Diary®
Technology innovations that have helped businesses go digital have been the saving grace of the pandemic. Even as more and more sectors make the jump to the digital domain, SaaS providers are expanding their reach and creating customized solutions for various sectors, including education. The EdTech market has tremendously grown over the past few years, with innovations in AI, ML and smart learning tools already catering to STEM education approach. The pandemic has further accelerated this growth, with increasing number of schools turning to Ed-tech platforms to ensure continuous education. Apart from ongoing education, digital adoption is also helping schools and education institutes automate and mange other functions, including data management, administration, teacher-parent engagement as well as teacher assessment and performance monitoring, revenue collection and much more! For professionals and adults across age groups, Ed-tech is opening up doors to learn new hobbies or to upgrade relevant career skills, thus re-inventing the entire learning process.
And the above transformations have been driven by enthusiastic SaaS based service providers who stepped up to meet the demand with customized innovations. Here are some key innovations by SaaS providers that are transforming Edtech.
- Remote Learning: From customized platforms for secure virtual classrooms to advanced remote learning options, SaaS providers have created various options for teachers and students to interact seamlessly. Whats more, making these tech enabled processes simple, easily accessible by parents and teachers and making it friendly for non-English speaking population, have been key factors that helped wider adoption of these ed-tech tools. With facilities like easy upload of recorded videos, playbacks and real time/ live classrooms, SaaS-based Education Technology now facilitates the availability of courses and its learning material to students and helps them overcome their geographical limitations
- School Management: Although physical classes are suspended, a school/ educational institute functions on various levels and requires a meticulous administrative hand. From managing records, attendance data, school curriculum and extra-curriculum syllabus, to teachers records, accounts, managing the infrastructure, fees and revenue for the upkeep of the physical infrastructure, are all tedious and time consuming tasks, which become challenging in the times of staff scarcity due to lockdown. Automated school management system helps address all these concerns by bringing them on the digital platform. Managing all of these features through a single window operation, often customized for the specific institute, has helped several schools to handle this effortlessly.
- Value Added learning tools: Providing differentiation and value-added tools such as Online tutoring, Assessment, performance analysis & management of studies and attendance etc., has been a major contribution of Ed-tech, especially during the pandemic. In fact, one of the key growth factors in Ed-tech during the pandemic has been the innovation in the value added segments, which go beyond just learning tools. Assisted learning tools, AI and ML powered processes earlier comprised of a large part of Ed-Tech before the pandemic. Now, the value added services, including data analytics and management, form an considerable portion, if not equal to the learning technology tools.
- Teacher training: As much as Ed-tech is about teaching students, it has also evolved as an important tool for professionals, seeking to upgrade their skills or to acquire a new hobby or work related expertise. On the same lines, recent Ed-tech innovations have helped focus on the yet neglected aspect of teacher training and skill enhancement. While most teachers are trained during their preparatory phase as young professionals, their training rarely goes beyond and update about their own subject. With the new formats of teaching and the widespread use of technology that is integrating soon with conventional methods of teaching, there has been a dire need for up skilling teachers with the new techniques. SaaS providers have helped create innovations that focus on this particular segment and are helping train teachers gain a better understanding about various Ed-tech tools.
Even as the fate of physical classrooms remain uncertain, given the ongoing rise of the virus, schools and educational institutes across the country are more than getting used to the new normal of virtual classrooms and ‘learn from home’ formats. The availability of smart devices, faster internet broadband connections and presence of parents to guide and supervise students throughout the learning processes, have been major enablers. While Ed-tech start-ups and SaaS providers working in the Ed-tech space continue to prosper and attract Angel/VC funding opportunities, parents, teachers and students are also easing in to the idea of tech driven processes for new age learning.