Photo credit: Drazen Zigic.
What is EdTech?
EdTech is a sector that brings together all digital companies that offer innovative solutions aimed at improving learning through technology. Most of these solutions have a real educational dimension and a desire to help people learn and/or work better.
This is how the general manager of the EdTech France network, Anne-Charlotte Monneret, defines educational technologies. Created in 2018, the association brings together EdTech players operating in three market segments: schools, higher education and vocational training.
Increasingly, the network integrates the notion of impact within its community, tending towards an EdTech for Good: ” This is a theme that we seek to embody as much as possible so that we no longer say EdTech for Good, but quite simply EdTech and so that the notion of impact is integrated by all digital solutions. » EdTech for Good is based on three pillars:
- a product that is accessible to as many people as possible
- ethical data processing
- the search for extra-financial impact
A digital divide revealed by Covid-19
The pandemic and successive confinements – forcing teachers and students to teach from home – have highlighted digital inequalities, both in terms of equipment and uses.
Indeed, the first observation of professionals: the “digital native” is a myth. Students know how to use smartphones to go on social networks, but do not necessarily have the digital skills for educational or professional uses. According to a CNESCO study carried out in 2020, after the first confinement, 43% of young people have low skills in the use of computers and digital tools.
Train and include
These inequalities in terms of digital use vary according to the socio-professional category of the households, as indicated in a note from the DEPP: the less well-off households have a rather recreational use while the more well-off more utilitarian. To promote equal opportunities, EdTech therefore has a role to play in training in the use of digital technology.
EdTech is also a tool to personalize learning and act in favor of the inclusion of all students. This is the case of tools that facilitate reading, writing or calculation for pupils affected by DYS disorders, for example. This technology allows these students to follow the courses like all the others. The Ed Tech “ facilitates and supports pedagogical innovation within and outside the classroom », Details Anne-Charlotte Monneret.
EdTech and National Education: towards an EdTech voucher?
It is not always obvious that EdTech solutions end up on school benches. In question, the competences of the communities – the primary school depending on the municipality, the college of the department and the high school of the region –, but also the financial question. The National Education is not without remainder and puts in place various devices to deploy and democratize digital technology in schools, in particular in REP and REP+ establishments of the priority education system. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to measure the impact of these devices.
To deploy and generalize the use of digital technology in the classroom, EdTech France defends the establishment of an EdTech check “ like the Culture Pass “. Each teaching could be equipped with digital resources with a given annual budget. ” This would solve the question of funding, while respecting the pedagogical freedom of teachers concludes the general manager of the EdTech network.
La Passerelle, an accelerator for impactful EdTechs
In partnership with the Banque des Territoires, makesense inaugurated the first impact EdTech accelerator. The program is reserved for EdTech structures working for the inclusion of vulnerable groups, equal opportunities and the attractiveness of territories wishing to change scale.
4 EdTech startups working for equal opportunities
- MathIA, artificial intelligence to make people love mathematics
MathIA is a “pedagogical assistant” aimed at supporting teachers for mathematics, from CP to CE2. Winner of the Artificial Intelligence Innovation Partnership (P2IA), this solution is deployed among teachers by the Ministry of National Education and Youth.
- Cantoo scribe, for DYS children
Cantoo scribe is a “digital binder” for children with DYS disorders. It is a veritable toolbox with applications and software for reading assistance, voice facilitation, etc.
- Colori to learn to code, without screens
Teach children to code, without coding. This is the promise of this startup who raised one million euros last May. Colori draws inspiration from Montessori methods to combat illiteracy in children under the age of eight.
Jexplore puts virtual reality at the service of professional orientation by offering students a real playful immersion in the heart of the trades, as if they were there. A platform also allows personalized support for students.