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A graduate’s guide to EdTech: The rise of educational technology

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Last year, we looked at the rise of FinTech in London specifically the type of graduate job opportunities the sector is creating.

With the rise of innovative tech businesses showing no signs of slowing down, we now take look at Education Technology, or EdTech – another relatively new area making waves and set for a sharp rise in graduate employment numbers over the next 12 months.

Since the rise in digital technology, we’ve all been faced with an ever-evolving number of digital applications focusing on education and self-improvement.

But how can graduates fit into the mix and what types of graduate jobs does EdTech offer?


The short history of EdTech

To give a bit of background, let’s take a step back to the mid-1980s when the home computer and virtual networking were becoming ‘the next big thing’.

Creating virtual connections between machines meant information could be exchanged a lot more quickly.

Many of these first computers were designed for students to access course reading materials remotely.

The concept of distance/virtual learning, or e-learning, quickly took off, with students no longer needing to be on-site to access learning material.

By the 1990s, whole institutions became dedicated to online learning.

The Open University opened its digital doors for students to attend lectures via video conference, upload coursework and complete tests online.

Fast forward to today and the sector continues to boom.

Innovations in social media and mobile apps mean we can now have more instant and on-the-go collaboration; whether that be learning Spanish on the morning commute, or tuning into a webinar on the other side of the world – in your lunch break!


EdTech in business

Edtech companies typically fall into two main groups. These are:

1. Synchronous and Asynchronous tuition

Synchronous learning is when ideas are exchanged at the same time with direct real-time feedback. E.g. in a virtual classroom, a webinar or a conference call.

Asynchronous learning is when learning resources can be used by people in their own time. E.g. blogs, emails, video audio and lecture recordings.

2. Computer Based Training

Computer Based Training, or CBT, allows for more in-depth independent learning.

Lynda, Udemy and Train Simple are just some of the websites flying the flag in this area.

This type of training is designed to walk you through a topic, made up of several sections, and then quiz you on what you’ve just learnt.

The quiz is specifically designed with a simple but clever algorithm to be multiple choice, so the computer itself can grade your answers.

Mobile apps are the front runners in this area, with many pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved.

The gamification of subjects means apps like Kahoot, MindSnacks and 1000’s of others have created an entire industry dedicated to making learning interactive (and fun!).


Graduate jobs in EdTech

Like any tech industry, Developers and Engineers will always – and more increasingly – be needed to create software applications and the virtual spaces in which they exist.

With some of this software becoming more and more complex, positions for technical and customer support staff are also on the rise.

Many of the EdTech services are based on rolling contracts of the licencing of software and applications – Account Managers are always needed to manage these.

Plus, sales and business development people are crucial for bringing in those all-important customers.

And with businesses wanting to expand globally, having an additional language is always very attractive to employers.


Why work in EdTech?

The huge growth in EdTech has been fuelled by the increased investment in the sector.

EdTech UK is a new body set up last year by the government, with the goal to invest £45billion into the sector.

They’re now looking to increase this to £129bn by 2020.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said; “London has all the ingredients to become the EdTech capital of the world – a thriving technology sector, the city is globally recognised for educational excellence and a leading financial centre.

Londoners are also a highly diverse bunch from all over the world and are buzzing with ideas and a desire to learn.

I have no doubt that Edtech UK will help drive forward this growing sector in the capital.”

At Give A Grad A Go we love working with technology companies – their forward-thinking nature means they can offer graduates more responsibility, quicker progression and the chance to make a big and lasting impact on a business.


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