It’s certainly the case today, at a general level, that the rate of change in a technology sense outside schools is greater than the rate of change inside schools. We have moved to the world where, with a smartphone we have access to a virtual pocket expert 24/7, so whether you’re a Student, Teacher or Parent try today living without your connection point to search for any information. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have the habit of checking our smartphones before we sleep and again when we wake up, the digital culture is now an intrinsic part of our lives.
What does all this mean for the world of education, undoubtedly the world of education as we know it will have to find ways to adapt to this new digital culture in order to both keep students engaged, and give them some of the digital skill sets they now need in the 21st Century.
Pretty much everyone in education, particularly teachers understand the need to try and adapt and utilise more technology in their classrooms. But just introducing digital technology for the sake of saying you are doing so is not the answer, and I can sympathise with teachers who are having to deal with this need to adapt and change. The general principle of introducing technology into an environment is to make life easier, be it faster, simpler or more effective, but if you have the wrong technology the results can be the opposite.
For education, this new technology comes under the general umbrella of EdTech solutions, so technology that should make, in an educational context, things more effective for both Teacher and Student. This need for these new Educational Technology tools has driven the growth and development of new EdTech solutions. Many now coming from the numerous EdTech startups that are springing up all over the world, most of these new solutions appearing in the marketplace in the form of digital games or apps.
The issue I see with an Edtech solution as a game or an app is it not only has to be entertaining to engage the Student, but its should also have a very strong pedagogical platform that goes beyond anything you could deliver from a book, or any other traditional way of delivering content, otherwise your not being effective with the technology.
The big question is how do you know a good Edtech game or app from a bad one in the context of the pedagogy. One answer to this question is coming from Finland, a country known globally for its successful education system and its recent dominant position in the mobile gaming world. The depth of understanding and experience in both the world of pedagogy and gaming has made Finland a unique location and culture for the development of EdTech solutions.
The growth of the EdTech startups in Finland has generated the need for a new service to be able to help evaluate and validate the Edtech solutions at an early stage before the market entry, even at the early development stage. The benefits of such a service are it gives the EdTech developer more confidence what they are creating has the right balance of elements to help maximise the market potential of their solution, and deliver something that has real educational added value.
This aspect of Evaluation and Validation of EdTech as a service is relatively new in Finland, but it has already drawn the interest from many overseas EdTech companies looking for the input of the Finnish expertise. At this point, Finland is uniquely positioned to provide this service, given the reaction I'm aware of to date, having a Finnish stamp for the Evaluation and Validation of the EdTech product appears to carry some market credibility.
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