In March, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi announced that the government is ready to spend £150 million to give every school in England access to a high speed broadband connection by 2025.
Following the pandemic, remote learning has seen a boom, initially through necessity but now because it’s been proven to work. Technology in classrooms is enabling students to engage in learning in a very different way to how they engaged ten years ago, with EdTech creating IT tools to provide a more engaging, inclusive and individualised learning experience.
So how is EdTech helping universities meet the needs of their students?
Open to different learning styles and paces
It’s a widely accepted fact that different people learn in different ways and at different paces. Some people learn better by reading, listening, talking, doing or drawing – there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different learning styles.
EdTech allows for all of these different learning styles to be considered, understood and catered for.
Where historically, students might have had one – and only one – opportunity to sit through a two hour lecture with nothing but a textbook and their own notes to refer back to, they can now access the same information in multiple formats whenever they need it. It might be as basic as a film of the lecture with accompanied transcript, or more engaging, interactive, online courses – either way, students can now learn in their own way and at their own pace, which can only lead to a greater sense of agency in their own learning and greater academic outcomes.
A big way that EdTech is helping students is by making learning accessible to all. For example, text to audio and audio to text tech enables students with impaired vision or hearing to benefit from lectures, either virtual or in person, alongside other learners. While specific support, such as signers or braille formats may still be needed, this kind of EdTech means all learners can engage and work with the same material.
Video lectures, either streamed or recorded for later viewing, allow students with other commitments, such as caring responsibilities or health considerations, to watch and learn from lectures without having to leave their homes and without having to put other aspects of their lives on hold. They also allow neurodivergent students, such as autistic students or those with ADHD, to manage their own learning environment and learn at their own pace, in chunks of time that work best for them.
EdTech is opening up the ways that students can communicate and collaborate with one another.
Project management tools and e-learning resources make it possible for students to work together without having to be in the same room or even available at the same time. Group projects can operate in a fluid way, allowing students to still engage and learn together, whilst still being available for other important commitments.
Tutors can also input and feedback virtually, meaning that questions can be asked and feedback can be given more regularly, making learning possible at times that suit everyone.
Asides being messy and difficult to keep track of, excess paper isn’t great for the environment – and this is an issue close to young people’s hearts.
In September 2021, a global survey found that 60% of young people aged 16 to 25 felt very or extremely worried about climate change, and more than 45% said that these feelings affected their daily lives.
It tracks then that paper-based learning isn’t what students want, especially given that students today are digital natives. But EdTech allows for students to learn in a paperless environment.
Younger generations are more likely to rely on cards and digital banking than cash in their day to day life, so cashless payment is expected at university too – especially if remote learning is now commonplace.
Introducing fintech into the university experience can bring huge benefits to students. By issuing students with prepaid cards on enrolment, they can easily receive bursary and scholarship payments quickly and to be accessed immediately. The risks of fraud and human error in inputting bank details are also diminished and processing payments is much quicker than bank transfers or, even worse, cheques.
Prepaid cards can also play an important role in societies, events and clubs. Student union and society fundraising activities often leave students in charge of large budgets but prepaid cards allow students to easily access and take control of their activities. Prepaid cards can also have restrictions that mean funds can only be spent in certain shops, meaning that the budgets can be kept safe.
Cards can also be used as a recruitment and engagement strategy – students can be offered meals and travel expenses to attend open days or to volunteer, making these events and opportunities accessible to all students without racking up their own expenses.
And students facing challenging circumstances can be paid hardship funds in an efficient and cost-effective way, meaning that money can reach them quickly and when it’s needed.
EdTech has transformed the way that students engage with higher education, from making learning more accessible to different people with different schedules, reducing the impact of learning on the environment, and making for safer and more efficient payment solutions.
To find out how B4B Payments can help meet the needs of your students, get in touch today.