Introducing the Education Layer
Husniati Salma @ Unsplash
Education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and Higher Education play a crucial role in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030. They are not just the foundation for lifelong learning and the personal development of individuals, but also promote (self-) employment, income generation as well as health and poverty reduction. On a societal level, moreover, Education, TVET, and Higher Education foster sustainable economic growth, innovation, and social cohesion.
Like other sectors, Education, TVET, and Higher Education also need to keep up with the speed of change and innovation caused by digital transformation. Digital transformation implies manifold opportunities to strengthen access, quality, and relevance of education. Technologies can leverage advancement at different levels. They can be used to make teaching and learning environments more inclusive, flexible and student-centered, while they can also provide more and better data for planning, managing, monitoring, and, ultimately, contribute to reducing the barriers in the system. Despite the opportunities that digital solutions offer for the education and training sectors, each new technology brings new risks in its application and should always be embedded in a wider strategy that puts the key challenges of the sector at the center of such strategy. Technologies should then only be applied if they have the potential to make a significant contribution to tackling the key challenges, while risk assessments and risk mitigation strategies should always be in place from the start. The use of technologies implies the constant collection of user data, which in many cases contains personal information. It is, therefore, necessary to also keep privacy issues and considerations pertaining to the protection of personal data in mind when designing interventions that draw on data-driven technologies.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brought public life to a halt. Schools, TVET institutions, and universities were forced to close and to re-engine their mode of delivery to ensure that more than 1.5 billion students worldwide can continue their educational paths. While redesigning education settings and shifting learning and teaching to virtual spaces or distance-learning mechanisms, it became apparent that digital transformation in Education, TVET, and Higher Education is not a passing trend, but an essential requirement.
With that in mind, the Education Layer of the techDetector forecasts technologies that can support the mitigation of structural challenges such as internet connectivity and access to learning opportunities, as well as new models of certification and evaluation based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in the future. In addition, the layer introduces immersive technology that, if adopted in the learning process, poses new pathways for experiential approaches. It also showcases various translating technologies and voice recognition interfaces that aim to foster inclusive educational environments. The technologies displayed on the layer refer to emerging technologies on different levels of maturity —they are, in many cases, not ready for large-scale implementation in GIZ’s partner countries yet. Instead, the layer offers a glance into the near future of what technologies are expected to become available for commercial use in the coming years.
In an effort to support more dialogue and better cooperation between technology experts and actors involved in international development, GIZ, together with Envisioning, jointly developed the techDetector, an analytical tool that determines the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), as well as the sustainable impact of each emerging technology listed. During the research process, we assessed several technology applications according to NASA’s TRL, from 1 (the lowest level of technology maturation) to 9 (technology is already being fixed and incorporated into new systems), and clustered the technologies into five affinity groups:
Reaching All Students –Enhanced Access and Inclusiveness Through Technologies
Triggering Students’ Engagement –More Interaction Through Technologies
Using Teaching And Learning Resources More Efficient –Increased Efficiency Through Technologies
Reaching Higher Quality By More Efficient Education Institutions –Better Education Management Through Technologies
Planning And Steering Education Programmes –Enhanced Education Governance Through Technologies
Our interactive visualization allows navigation between technologies. Their position on the map reflects their technology readiness level (full commercial application is towards the center). The description summarizes how each technology functions and our proprietary metrics displays the related Sustainable Development Goals as well as an assessment of its potential impact on the different pillars of sustainability as well as gender. You are now invited to navigate these technologies and explore the interactive visualization tool.