New Zealand’s EdTech at centre-stage of International Education
As Covid-19 closed borders and classrooms around the world, New Zealand’s educational technology companies found themselves centre-stage in enabling education providers to deliver online learning to millions of students.
Export digital products and services have long been an important element of New Zealand’s international education sector, but they have largely flown under the public radar. Overnight, the needs of learners changed, and education providers found themselves in uncharted territory.
New Zealand companies with an established reputation delivering digital educational programmes quickly stepped up both the range and reach of their products. This, combined with Aotearoa’s reputation for creativity and innovation, and more than a little manaakitanga, has resulted in the phenomenal growth of some of our best-known EdTech brands over the past year.
Kami is helping Schools Globally
At digital online learning platform Kami, the goal is success for every student, regardless of ability, by providing inclusive and intuitive tools that support any learning style. They include text-to-speech, voice-typing, freehand drawing, and audio and video commenting.
Many of the schools which closed globally adopted Kami’s digital classroom technology. The company has grown from 8 million to 27 million users in 180 countries over the past year, adding one million new users in one week alone.
Code Avengers taps into the popularity of Gaming
Code Avengers takes a left-field approach to engaging learners by tapping into the popularity of gaming and uses those concepts to captivate students and build their digital capability. The platform was only founded in 2012 and is now being used in 15,000 schools in 14 countries.
“Our goal is to prepare teachers and students, from all backgrounds, for the current reality of the job market, and the jobs of tomorrow,” says Code Avengers CEO Hamish Day.
“We want to help give people confidence and an opportunity to learn the skills that industry tells us it needs.”
Education Perfect are inspiring the next Generation of Changemakers
EdTech providers also have the power to engage students on social issues and challenge them to think critically. Key market player Education Perfect, which reaches more than one million students in 1800 schools globally, is finding new ways to inspire the next generation of changemakers.
It is building curriculum content to include issues such as social justice, sustainability, student health and wellbeing, and indigenous issues. It recently partnered with Australian animal rights organisation Voiceless to deliver modules focused on animal welfare, including the issues of dolphins living in captivity and the export of live animals.
EP Partnerships Director Anna Redmile says that joining forces with Voiceless allows teachers and students to have conversations which promote critical thinking and better understanding of the world they live in.
Education consultant and Voiceless adviser Dr Christina Jarvis agrees. "As we help children embrace an increasingly complicated future, such skills are paramount for developing engaged citizens.”
EdTech will continue to play a key role in New Zealand’s International Education Offering
The EdTech sector was estimated to contribute $300 million to the New Zealand economy in 2017, and those figures will have ballooned with the impact of Covid.
Looking to the future, educational technology will play an increasingly key role in the diversification of New Zealand’s international education offerings. And there is no shortage of amazing and pioneering companies ready to play their part.