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Digital Innovation: It’s Education’s Turn

Posted in Ed Tech on April 16, 2014 by

See the full State of Digital Education infographic here.

Digital innovation is driving tremendous change across the education sector, improving both the quality and accessibility of education in ways that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. Vastly improved technology and increased student dropout rates have set the stage for disruption. In the United States alone, 30% of students fail out of high school, 33% of college students require remediation, and 46% of college students fail to graduate. On the financial side, escalating tuition rates, unemployment, and massive student debt burden ($1 trillion in the US alone) are crippling our nation’s youth and have added great urgency to the situation.

Teachers, too, are facing massive challenges ranging from expanding class sizes, an increased diversity of student needs to consider, and a peer and pop culture that is not always supportive of school. Already, they are charged by society with responsibilities that range from inculcating democratic values to ensuring global competitiveness and preparing students for 21st century workforce needs.

At the same time, big data is revolutionizing industries from finance to advertising to healthcare, and associated technologies like digital open content, cloud computing, augmented reality, and ubiquitous computing are amplifying its potential. It is now education’s turn for transformation. Adaptive learning — the personalization of learning content for individual student needs — has evolved to meet the needs of students, teachers, administrators and publishers. We can now envision a future where every individual has access to a world-class, personalized education.

In Knewton CEO Jose Ferreira’s blog post, Is Edtech in a Bubble? he describes the enormous ramifications of these developments:

“The shifting of education from analogue to digital is a one-time event in the history of the human race. At scale, it may have as big an effect on the world as indoor plumbing or electricity. The consequence of nearly every human being receiving as much education as she wants and her ability permits will likely transform the quality of life and global GDP within one generation. Massive pools of human talent will be unlocked. Better-educated people will raise better-educated kids. How many more great minds – future Einsteins, Curies, Da Vincis, Pasteurs, Martin Luther Kings and McCartneys – will the world produce when we can quadruple the number of high school graduates?”

Check out the State of Digital Education Infographic for more on the future of education.