There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the world, but as we begin the process of recovery, one of the positives that can be taken from the pandemic is how Edtech continued to evolve and to see the effects on the environment.
As educational institutes were forced to move to a technology-based system of teaching and learning, there was an almost instant impact in saved resources. An obvious one being the reduction of carbon emissions as students and educators immersed themselves in online learning from home,cutting out travel. Another impact, and something that will hopefully continue post-COVID-19, is the increased use of online resources which has resulted in less paper being used.
Among others, these factors have positively impacted not only the environment but also the economy, saving time and money and time for both students and teachers. What has been even more interesting is to see the innovations in education technology to provide more equity and access to students around the world.
In 2013, when Canadian inventor and public speaker Ann Makosinski heard that her friend in the Philippines had failed a grade at school because she lacked electricity to study at night, Ann invented a flashlight that is powered by the heat of a human hand. She then went on to invent eDrink, a mug that converts heat from your drink into an electrical current to charge your phone. These are two examples of how EdTech is more than just “technical education,” it highlights the importance of knowledge in technology and evidently how it can shape a more sustainable future.
During the pandemic, we’ve seen the rise of video-assisted technology which has dismantled many barriers to learning, the use of data analysis to personalize education, machine learning, an increased interest in STEAM subject areas and the encouragement of building digital skills – all of which have a direct and positive impact on how students learn and interact with the world around them. By relying on technology to learn and create, they are more likely to continue this reliance when it comes to tackling bigger problems such as climate change or sustainability reform.
Of course, challenges remain. As Iain Patton explains: “There are some common stumbling blocks – Quite often an institution might encourage a sustainable behavior change, but lacks the infrastructure to support it.” The key, he says, “is balancing the social side of sustainability with the economic and environmental side”. –The reality of abandoning the traditional and form of education is unrealistic; The key is to adopt a more hybrid way of learning and finding the balance between online and physical learning.
Various sectors and industries have already begun to create new forms of technologies that positively impact the environment, such as electric cars and smart homes being a couple of the more well-known examples. This change to a more ecologically friendly mindset has seen a surge in the initiative to push an environmentally friendly ethos has promoted green living and a better awareness of the importance of saving energy.
It’s important to note that an entire generation is being raised in this moment of change. They are experiencing how technology education makes a difference in their own abilities to learn and create. In the following decades, as these students become part of society and as the environmental issues will require more innovation , It will be interesting to see how they will use their educational experiences to improve the world and environment they live in..