Shifting Paradigms| EdTech’s Golden Moment from the Pandemic

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In the wake of a global pandemic that has brought the world to its knees and forced billions to work or learn from home, new and innovative approaches to doing things are being adopted. Education has been one of the most hard-hit sectors when it comes to disruption of workflow. 

Students don’t have access to conventional learning resources. Teachers, on the other hand, have to figure out new ways to connect with their learners. All parties must adapt to these new pedagogical approaches.

While traditional educational for-profit companies have taken a hit on their numbers due to current restrictions, some companies have suddenly come into a windfall season. This article takes a look at some of these companies and categories of providers. As a student or parent, you’ll also learn what your alternatives are since traditional education has been shifted completely. 

Zoom Video Communications

Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) is undoubtedly the biggest gainer of the season, literally zooming past profit expectations for the year. The company went public in 2019 at a stock price of $36, and the price currently stands at $247. 

Zoom is primarily a videoconferencing utility. However, many people don’t know that Zoom has made great strides in the education front; it services over 100,000 K-12 providers with powerful classroom resources. 

Some of these added benefits for educators and learners include:

  • Meetings with unlimited time for up to 100 participants;
  • Digital whiteboards and real-time annotation;
  • Recording of sessions that allows transcribing later;
  • Integration with other educational tools such as Sakai, Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, and Desire2Learn;
  • Full security and compliance with FERPA/ HIPAA guidelines. 

In addition to these, Zoom offers HD video and voice clarity, the latter being just as good without the use of headphones

The Khan Academy

Usage of Khan Academy’s online learning resources has soared since the pandemic started. Unlike Zoom, Khan is a pure educational non-profit resource famous for its math and science lessons. Its usage has soared 20 fold since January with parents, kids, and educators taking advantage of free tutorials, exercises, quizzes, and instructional videos. 

Khan offers different resources for different learning tiers. For example, there are fun and interactive quizzes for students aged 4 to 9 who need more personalized learning assistance. Mastery challenges for older students provide immediate feedback; therefore, one can think of it as a personalized tutor. One of the platform’s best benefits is its availability in at least 40 languages, with more in the pipeline. 

 Chegg

For students struggling with their homework, essays, and other academic projects that they need to turn in urgently, the immediate solution is usually a paper writing service. The problem with these services, however, is that one may not know which service is reliable and can be trusted. Enter Chegg learning. 

While the company initially specialized in online textbook rentals (both in hard and digital formats), it has expanded its niche to homework help and tutoring, scholarships and internship matching, test prep, and math and writing assistance. Since January 2020, the company has seen a 35% increase in its subscriber numbers. 

Students who are devastated that they no longer have access to their tutors and the learning resources that they need can at least see a silver lining on this cloud. 

K12 Inc. 

K12 is essentially the virtual public school curriculum that can be accessed online. You can get a huge amount of material from K12 for all tiers of learning. Some state-certified teachers are in charge of the various programs. K12 Inc. hasn’t provided its number since the year began. However, a quick review on site rankings will show that it moved up by 3000 places in just may alone, showing that the company is indeed reaping a benefit from the crisis.

Honorable Mentions

It’s quite apparent that educational approaches have dramatically shifted since the pandemic started. All the companies mentioned above except Zoom are outright educational providers. However, other companies that are operating in a different sphere are also improving learning support and shifting the existing paradigms of education. The most dominant of these are Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet Inc (through Google Classroom and YouTube). 

These two aren’t conventional educational companies. However, Facebook’s live streams are themselves an option for educators who want to provide instructional videos to students who may not be able to access other channels. 

YouTube, on the other hand, is undoubtedly seeing a growth in its subscriptions and numbers due to the huge pool of students looking for free and quickly accessible educational videos online. Their main advantage is that these channels can be accessed straight from smartphones. 

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