Ed-tech stands for education technology. It comprises of everything from learning the simple use of computers to learn math, to the submission of homework online, and getting a degree online, or learning virtual reality techniques. All technology is changing and improving most segments of our economy; our education sector is also undergoing a tech revolution.
Ed-tech is not just about reformatting books and digitalizing them. It is, in fact, about learning the application of digital technology to deliver a new form of learning structure. It focuses on giving personalized training that can adjust to an individual’s learning competence by understanding ways that can help the learners progress.
Ed-tech will add much to classrooms as innovative systems and software improve. However, you will likely find people who will remain skeptical about it — but that is the bane of all innovation. If you are looking to increase your knowledge of ed-tech, here’s a breakdown of the advantages and limitations of using it.
What are the advantages of Ed-Tech?
- It is cost-efficient. The costs of building educational institutions, paying the fee of the instructors, the staff, maintenance of the building, and the cost of resources make traditional learning very expensive. Less money can be spent on hardware at schools if reliable broadband is available and students use their equipment such as their tablets or iPads.
- It improves user engagement and learning impact. When you save on educational and training budgets, that money could get invested in smart learning software programs that provide tailored lesson plans or engaging video materials. It improves understanding and promotes better results. If a student has any question, they can immediately search for it on the internet and get instant results. If a teacher is finding difficulty in explaining a concept to the students, she can get access to materials online. It can make concepts easy to explain.
- Ed-tech is also bridging the gap between what happens in the classroom and outside the classroom. Students can access digital resources at home or on the subway. It is changing the way students are consuming education, as it is available for them all the time.
- Everyone can get the same standard of education. A small-scale school in any part of the world can receive the same level of education that is getting offered in a well-funded school in a posh area. All they need is good internet access. Many Harvard and Stanford courses are getting offered online that anyone across the globe can access and benefit from.
- Students learn how to master email formats, troubleshoot any glitches on their computers, and get comfortable in creating aesthetically-pleasing presentations. All these are skills and tools that they need in their personal and professional life ahead. Online behavior has its own set of ethics that students must know of. Being a tech-savvy employee will always give them an edge over their peers.
- Teaching new faces can be a tedious task for teachers, especially in understaffed schools. Every student is unique and learns differently. There are learning programs that have been designed to track the personal progress of students and figure out a student learns. Knowing how an individual learns will help with individualized learning programs. If teachers supplement their classroom with customized software — they can fill the needs of individualized students.
Let us now have a look at some of the limitations of Ed-Tech:
- There is a possibility of distraction. If boundaries are not established for students, there is a high chance of them getting distracted by their gadgets and using them for play. It is also very likely that students in the classrooms would have a greater understanding of their tablets or iPads than their teachers. They can figure out ways to text their friends. It can be a task to figure out how to maintain a balance between the students’ natural inclination to use the technology inappropriately, and your inclination to encourage media literacy.
- It can promote inequality among students. A reason for this is because not every student can afford or have access to technology outside the classroom. It would result in their failure to finish their homework. The option to rent the tablets or download programs from the library might also not be feasible for many, as it would depend on the availability of the tablets.
- The increase in the use of technology means there will be a loss of human connection. Digital literacy is indeed the need of the hour, but students also need interpersonal skills to succeed in their personal and professional lives. There have been numerous discussions about the millennial generation’s anti-social inclinations that are a result of excessive social media use. Many behavioral therapists are concerned that over time, students will lose the ability to communicate verbally and fail to learn the skills which are necessary for a fulfilling social life. Finding a good job also depends on how you present yourself in your interview. If you get appointed as a manager in a company, your progress would depend a lot on how you communicate with your team members.
- There is a chance that the progression of ed-tech may replace teachers. There is no substitute for human instruction, but some believe that ed-tech may result in eliminating jobs for teachers. Even though most ed-tech has been designed to support traditional teaching methods, but there is a possibility that digital instruction might become a norm. Education budgets are getting tighter year after year, and people are enjoying technology that personalizes their instruction based on the user. That is why it is not surprising that other industries such as the agriculture industry and manufacturing industry have faced a technology takeover.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Ed-Tech.
No matter what your point of view is about ed-tech, you must consider the pros and cons before you implement or advocate against the use of technology. Every learner is different, and ed-tech may not be the answer for everyone. The needs of the classroom should be taken into consideration before making any decision.
If you decide on giving ed-tech a shot, there are ways that you can limit its downsides. For instance, if you are concerned about students wasting their time by playing games on their tablets or texting rather than studying, schools can make it mandatory to install kids monitoring apps on every child’s tablet.
What About Kid-Monitoring Apps?
One such kid monitoring app is XNSPY. School administrators can invest in the app and download it on all the school-owned devices, which the teachers can monitor remotely. It is especially useful during the time of the pandemic, as distance learning is the new norm. XNSPY will give the teachers access to the students’:
- Browsing history. Teachers can see that the child is only browsing related course material.
- Text messages. Teachers can catch students if they are texting during an exam.
- Current location. By using the GPS tracker, teachers can check whether the students are on the premises of the school or not.
- Email accounts. Teachers can keep a tab on all the sent and received emails from the tab.
- Social media accounts. The students tend to get distracted by social media notifications. Teachers can manage their usage remotely and check to ensure that they are not getting bullied at school.
School Administration Responsibilities
School administration can also try to incorporate both ed-tech and traditional ways of teaching to achieve the best results. For instance, if the duration of math class is 2 hours every day, one hour can get dedicated to online learning, while the other hour can get used for discussion in the classroom. Teachers can also assign group projects to students where they would have to research for the material online.
However, they should present the project while working in coordination with each other. It will also improve their interpersonal skills and teach them how to make the best use of technology together.
It is always best that you experiment with ed-tech. Whether or not new tools directly improve our students’ understanding, learners will benefit from being exposed to unique resources. Consistent feedback from students and teachers can be taken to assess the overall experience to help you make the best choice for your classroom.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!