What exactly does ‘edtech’ mean, anyway?
NOTES ON THE NAME | by Victor Rivero
As a publication featuring ‘edtech’ – it may be useful to know just what the heck it means, or at least, what I think it means. I mean, it’s been nearly a decade since we first started publishing!
So on the cusp of our 10th anniversary – here are some scraps and gems from me to you – for you to sort through. They’re not scientifically perfect nor are they intended to be, but in their roughness you may find them thought provoking—that’s for you to judge.
Have fun and reach out with your own thoughts on the matter. Enjoy!
“edtech” “Edtech” or “EdTech” = education technology
Similar word constructs in other sectors:
fintech (financial technology), govtech (government technology).
Also seen as:
Derivation and a Concept
Education – in the sense “to educate” comes from educat and educare related to educere and ultimately educe which means led out from or to lead out from further derived from “e” (out, or out from, a variant of “ex-“) and ducere (to guide or lead)
Technology – from techne (art, skill, craft, means, manner, method, way) and logos (word, speech, discourse, reason)
One thereby might (somewhat creatively) extrapolate that education technology or ‘edtech’ could roughly represent the broadly workable concept of: (use of) a crafted means of leading or guiding one out of the darkness of not knowing and into the light of knowledge.
In any case, the main idea is:
Education improved, enhanced, or transformed through technology.
Or, put another way:
Technology that makes education better.
“…(use of) a crafted means of leading or guiding one out of the darkness of not knowing and into the light of knowledge.”
Some familiar examples:
- iPads loaded with programs for helping Kindergarten students learn to read
- Professional learning for educators integrating technology into their classrooms
- Wi-fi for college campuses keeping students, faculty connected
- Online learning management systems for employees on the job or training to stay current and ahead
- Simulators for training professionals how to do their job (pilots, astronauts, etc.)
- Coding boot camps readying job-seekers for the tech workforce
Note that the examples above include so many facets of “edtech”:
- using technology to learn
- learning about how to use or teach with technology
- having technology as part of a modern learning environment to facilitate rapid connections and communications
- making workforce learning efficient using technology systems as a base
- immersion in rich technology-anchored environments to learn a real-life skill or mission
- immersion in the intricacies of creating technology or using technological languages to achieve competence and produce results in a tech-based workforce.
Emerging technologies associated with education and learning:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Virtual Reality (VR)
- Augmented Reality (AR)
EDTECH DIGEST views the “edtech” sector in its broadest sense.
The idea encompasses any person, product, group, team, company, research, activity working at the intersection of education and technology.
We’re looking at education AND technology, both in their fullest sense—with a big “and” between them; clip and combine them and you have edtech.
Some illustrative sentences:
That’s a great new edtech startup!
She works in edtech.
They are a pretty well-known edtech company.
That sort of edtech has been in the classroom for nearly a decade.
They’re doing some interesting stuff in edtech.
The edtech sector has really been exploding in the last several years.
So That’s It
Alright, so that is what we mean, generally speaking, when we use the word “edtech”.
And we don’t mind if you spell it edtech, EdTech or even edTech. Some have lingered longer with the word education and employ the word edutech.
We usually use “edtech” “Edtech” and sometimes “EdTech”.
And pronounce it: ed’ tek (giving a slight emphasis to the first syllable).
I think the bigger idea here is that these two fields:
are so intrinsically tied to our future—students of every age on a path of learning (which is a hopeful thing!) and tools that are (optimistically at least) a way forward for humanity—
…that it’s all well worth it to explore in every sense their intersection, their alloyed strength.
And so it is that we’ve been exploring edtech through this publication for the past 10+ years, and plan to for at least a decade more: the passion I’ve seen in educators and students interested in technology on the one hand, and technologists/founders interested in the education sector and improving learning on the other—is awesome to behold!
I’ve stated decades ago, ‘Technology is opening the door to a renaissance in education.’ I think that’s still very true today, perhaps even more so.
There are drawbacks, pitfalls, and caveats, but so much is possible. It’s definitely a work in progress. And as always, it’s up to us to make the future happen how we want it to happen.
Hope this essay helps!
Now, ‘essay’ itself is an interesting word…
Victor Rivero is the Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org