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Digital companies to the rescue of education: what prospects for 2022?

The year 2021 has been punctuated by telecommuting, class closures, and a succession of different health protocols to keep children in school. Everyone has adapted: children, parents and teachers. Even so, this crisis has had a significant impact on education.

The Covid 19 crisis allowed us to gain 5 to 10 years in terms of speed and transformation of digital uses and consumption patterns. It made France aware of its backwardness and made it face its responsibilities. Many people were already questioning the interest of digitization, but today everyone, even the most reluctant, have understood that it is an indispensable tool that allows to ensure educational continuity and much more.

This crisis has increased inequalities and encouraged school dropout among the poorest families who were not equipped or not able to accompany their children in the pursuit of their learning. Unfortunately, school dropouts affect 100,000 young people every year and digital technology can be a key to success in order to continue to interest potential dropouts or to reconcile some of them with more traditional tools.

Some trends are to be retained for Ed-tech in 2022, notably gamification in education: this is exactly what we have created with Holy Owly. We have encapsulated our educational method in gamification bricks. We invite children into an immersive adventure where they will become English superheroes. Each child will have their own avatar and will earn stars based on their performance in their daily exercises, which they can convert into outfits and accessories.

Children will also be responsible for a tamagoshi/pet that they can feed at the end of the exercise to watch it grow and flourish. We cultivate the children’s curiosity to discover this egg that will hatch and this animal that will grow by rewarding their assiduity because it is a key to success to anchor the learned notions durably. Our slogan: Speaking English becomes child’s play!

Gamification is a success factor in the learning of children, they learn better by playing but this is also true for adults. This notion of fun in learning is lost over the years and gives way to a more traditional and certainly less effective teaching. The gamification of learning can be done through the use of applications, but also videos, podcasts, VR experiences… We need to break the learners’ routine by multiplying the learning supports.

Another trend is the emergence of microlearning: we are now integrating it into our solution, which consists of offering 5 minutes of learning per day, 6 days a week, no more, for the effectiveness of microlearning and for a reasonable use of screens, our target being children aged 3/12.

In our language center, which has been our experimental laboratory for 3 years and where we have tested our method on 200 children, we have tested different formats and the most effective has been the 5mn format. Children in this age group have a relatively limited attention span and in order to keep them captive and make learning effective, it is necessary to push short formats on them by making them actors of their learning.

Microlearning is also a sesame for older children, as well as for adults. Learning must be sequenced and the media must be varied.

Finally, the third major trend is adaptive learning or differentiated learning. Learners, regardless of their age, need to progress at their own pace to assimilate learning correctly. Only digital technology can provide personalized learning to students and thus avoid leaving some on the side of the road because of a lack of time to devote to them in overcrowded classes of 30 students. Digital technology will never replace the teacher but it is a great tool that, used at any age, can facilitate certain learning or complement others.

Holy Owly also offers adaptive learning to push personalized content to children respecting their learning pace.

2020 was the year of take-off for Ed-tech with more than 16 billion invested in this market worldwide, then 20 billion in 2021. The crisis has really boosted this market, still immature before 2020. The Ed-tech market has grown to 175 billion in a few months and is now estimated at 500 billion, which suggests good prospects for the players in this market. We will increasingly need to learn differently to prepare for the digital society of tomorrow. France will need a real digital strategy to catch up and make a place for itself in this market of the future.

The question today is how?

By continuing to equip schools with digital equipment and training teachers in these new tools and resources. We must remember that there are more than 1 million teachers in France. A digital training for teachers will allow to diversify their supports, but also to break this routine which can exclude some students in difficulty. We would like to emphasize the urgency of supporting the first level, which is currently lagging behind other classes. What proposals will be supported to equip and train teachers? What will be the vision of the school of the future carried by the next government?

In a booming market, will the government play a facilitating role to allow French ed-tech to shine internationally? This will also involve structuring and simplifying experiments, which today weaken start-ups because of their cumbersome nature.

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