Education embraces a digital future

7 mins read

The education sector is embracing technology and in doing so unlocking new ways of teaching that are transforming educational models.

For many in the educational sector the Covid pandemic triggered a much-needed revolution across traditional educational systems with 1.6 billion students in over 150 countries having their school-based learning completely disrupted.

Over the course of the pandemic EdTech solutions unlocked a range of solutions that helped to completely transform many education models and the development of technologies specifically focused on the needs of the educational sector.

So, what is EdTech or educational technology? Edtech refers to media and tools that are used to communicate, deliver, and exchange knowledge and ideas and includes software, smart devices, and electronics and it’s a market that was worth around $125bn in 2022.

Education is now embracing a digital future from Extended Reality (XR), which has enabled the virtual world to integrate with the physical and deliver a host of new experiences to students and teachers, to the gamification of education. Gamification of education is forecast to be worth over $30bn by 2025, and the global market for game-based learning is expected to reach $24bn this year.

Developers are creating video games and interactive approaches to deliver an immersive learning experience that not only motivates students more but helps them create more individual learning.

Another key technology is Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is being used to improve learning by taking data and creating more intelligent tutorial systems and performance-based teaching. AI can analyse how a student learns and behaves and can create a ‘hyper-personalised learning experience’.

Today, students have access to smart devices, whether that’s laptops, mobiles or tablets and this has created new ways for teachers to interact and engage with students through a more connected education system.

With all this data blockchain technology is being used to help educational institutions ensure that their platforms are both secure and stable – whether that’s maintaining students’ records and authenticating individual’s identities or establishing a more transparent and accountable exams and evaluations system.

Education technology is helping students to imagine and understand things better. For example, every student is unique, and modern technology makes it possible to support different learning styles whether that’s using online platforms or interactive tools that make it possible for students to engage in ways that work best for them. It also means that students can ask questions that in more traditional formats they may have avoided.

Critically, at a time when the economy and society are evolving rapidly technical skills and the technology that underpins them are crucial, so the use of technology in the classroom is the prefect introduction to the skills that students will need to have in the modern work environment.

Technology provides a more interactive learning experience and boosts knowledge retention, increasing subject interest, and enhances the overall lesson engagement. Students become more active participants, which helps improve the learning experience.

Technology can also help students with disabilities, ensuring education is accessible to a wider range of learners. Tools like speech-to-text, subtitles, and adjustable keyboards can create a more inclusive classroom experience.

Delivering learning

The Bett conference, held earlier this year in London and which is the biggest educational technology conference in the world, saw nearly 30,000 education leaders gather to discuss the best ways to continue supporting and empowering teachers in the classroom.

“Bett highlighted a growing focus among educators and leaders on the delivery of learning, with an emphasis on making lessons more accessible for students with special education needs (SEN),” said Jonathan Moore, Global Education Consultant at SMART Technologies.

“Accessibility took centre stage and it underscored just how far we’ve come when it comes to delivering more inclusive learning. A one-size-fits-all approach no longer suffices, and educators are eager to leverage technologies to customise their lessons for every student,” commented Moore. “At Bett, we saw numerous examples of how technologies can improve the learning experience for SEN students.”

For example, SMART Technologies hosted an ‘Accessibility Open House’, in which it was possible to explore the ways edtech can foster more inclusive learning.

“Visitors were able to interact with our Tool Explorer technology (programmable image stamps) on interactive whiteboards, which supports non-verbal learners. Attendees also trialled special styluses with adjustable grips, designed for those who may struggle to hold a standard whiteboard pen. They also experienced how to share a screen with individual student devices for those who may not be able to come up to the front of the classroom. These types of technologies enable teachers to engage all students, ensuring that nobody is excluded from the lesson.”

Assistive technology improves the happiness and wellbeing of students, and is seen as helping to foster greater self-reliance, improving communication, boosting confidence and aiding the development of soft skills.

“Accessibility must maintain a prominent role in curriculums,” said Moore. “This means developing lesson plans for SEN students, as well as deploying technology that benefits and engages all students. Therefore, decision-makers should consider accessibility and assistive technology when investing in innovations for schools.”

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising every sector in the economy and it’s the case with education too with AI now finding its way into every learning experience.

In many cases AI is now an integral part of current educational trends driving innovation and raising levels of efficiency, whether that’s being able to better monitor and assess individual student data to create more personalised learning paths or to adapt help with learning.

For teachers AI can be used to automate the grading process, delivering faster and more consistent feedback, and can be used to identify learning gaps and areas of improvement, meaning that any interventions can be done sooner - making education more proactive.

AI-driven language processing tools can be employed to improve writing skills, ensuring students develop essential communication capabilities.

According to Moore, “The role of AI in education has been a hot topic this year, with both accolades and concerns being voiced. Yet, the potential of AI to enhance learning for both teachers and students is undeniable. AI can streamline lesson planning and workflow for teachers, freeing up their time to concentrate on their students, especially those requiring special educational support and personalised learning.”

Speaking at Bett, the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, noted that, “AI can facilitate debates with students, provide instant feedback to learners, help design a bespoke curriculum and even imitate a fictional character to bring learning to life”.

Challenges do exist, however, and Moore warned that AI needed to be properly regulated with the safety of young people in mind.

“Adequate cybersecurity when using AI will be crucial in facilitating a secure and safe learning environment.”

Research recently published by the UK Government shows a significant increase in the use of AI by teachers, with 42% of primary and secondary teachers utilising generative AI in their work this year, a rise of 25% from the previous year and underlines the immense potential of edtech tools to improve and transform education.

Classrooms and sustainability

Today’s modern classrooms are equipped with a wide variety of advanced tools that are helping to revolutionise learning. These include portable electronic devices; smartboards; projectors that integrate with computers to project content for classroom viewing; ultra-high-definition televisions; digital microscopes and cameras; and virtual reality and augmented reality headsets that can create immersive learning experiences in various subjects.

SMART Technologies used Betts to unveil its SMART Board RX series interactive display, as well as enhanced versions of the existing SMART Board MX series and SMART Board GX series interactive displays providing, as the company described, a more connected classroom ecosystem.

Importantly, these displays also offer longevity and upgradability and manufacturing processes for these products prioritise durable, long-lasting, and sustainable products. These whiteboards use energy-saving LED lights that use 53% less energy on average and tend to have a much longer life span.

“Educational institutions should be investing in technology that utilises cleaner energy and emphasises longevity,” said Moore. “By offering high durability and a smaller environmental impact, students won't only learn about sustainability, but will also witness how their educators are affecting real changes within their classrooms to lessen their own carbon footprints.” 

At Bett, educational boards and policymakers were beginning to discuss the implementation of edtech to enhance learning while also using greener energy and technology that has a longer lifespan.


With the greater use of technology throughout schools so the importance of cybersecurity becomes even greater and so it’s necessary to provide educators with tools that are not only user friendly but that integrate cybersecurity practices seamlessly into the school environment.

Secure Schools provides help in delivering a more secure digital environment and it does this with a modular platform that enables users to adapt what they need to the requirements of their schools. Secure Schools conducts an audit of internal cybersecurity plans and then provides support and collaborates with IT teams and other school stakeholders to identify needs, provide testing, training or additional tools, and can then deliver a tailored cybersecurity plan.

Research conducted by the NCSC-LGfL Cyberscecurity Schools Audit in 2022 found that 26 per cent of schools had suffered spoofing; more fraudulent emails being sent to staff; and schools, for the first time, reporting that parents lost money due to cyber-incidents.

The report found, however, that nearly half of schools did not feel prepared for cyber-attacks and less than half of them had a business continuity plan in place that could outline next steps in the event of an incident.

Security is also about keeping students safe. has developed a platform that keeps the online environment safe for students and is able to monitor concerning activity among students and to spot trends across multiple languages.

Using the platform it not only aids teaching but can monitor keywords and phrases, provide safety summary reports, and update keywords. It’s capable of – via a Contextual Intelligence-based Risk Index – of analysing the context of a triggered event and then applying a risk index number that enables teachers to determine the severity of the event. Schools can then link these trigger events to MYCONCERN or CPOMS accounts.

As a platform it also allows students themselves to report any concerns and to have access to online support resources relating to drug use, grooming or bullying. also aids teaching by connecting students’ devices, using screen and audio to provide teaching aids, and to control website access and use, so that students can only access relevant and appropriate material during classes.

Education transformed

Technology is transforming the way children are being educated. From On-demand video learning that supplements other lesson materials to more immersive experiences that use augmented and virtual reality it is possible to foster a deeper connection with educational content.

With VR students can explore historical events, dissect biological specimens, or take a virtual field trip, while at the same time being provided with more personalised teaching. At Bett, VictoryXR demonstrated how, through mixed reality, students could simulate dangerous or expensive lab work in a mixed reality chemistry lab.

While aiding teaching, the use of technology makes it easier to collect data on student involvement, progress, and their behaviour – and that makes it easier for teachers to see what’s working and what isn’t and then to adapt and change class plans or delivery methods.