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How EdTech is supporting schools to grow in the new normal

Enabling virtual visits and hybrid student engagement, EdTech is proving to be a boon for educators. Here's a look at how it is helping schools thrive in the new normal.

Anukriti Ganesh
September 16, 2022
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4 min

While the pandemic disrupted lives and marred the performance of hundreds of sectors, the EdTech industry rose like the proverbial phoenix, thanks to the ever-evolving technology. The challenge, and the necessity to find newer ways arising from it, paved the way for innovation in education. The pandemic played an imperative role in the growth of the EdTech industry across the globe by unlocking doors to newer opportunities. Though most schools and counselors used online tools in some form earlier, the limitations caused by the pandemic resulted in a multifold increase in the usage of tech platforms.

A paradigm shift from classrooms to virtual rooms

To prevent serious disruptions in the learning process, educational institutions had to adapt quickly to the situation. The physical classroom gave way to zoom, pen and paper tests turned into online assessments, and college seminars evolved into webinars. In addition, schools had to get creative in delivering content to retain students’ attention. From animation, game-based learning, quizzes, and personal mentors, all to ensure higher engagement and better understanding.  

This transition had more upsides for the higher education sector than anyone imagined. Although, in comparison, most universities used technology in some form, those that did not were now compelled to adapt to the online model in order to keep up with changing trends. As a result, even the counselor community had to rethink their approach. 

The positive impact

Here is how schools, universities, and counselors benefited from this shift:

  • One-on-one connection with students: Virtual meetings allowed counselors more time to work on documentation and planning. They could meet more students with higher frequency and focus on answering questions. As students needed emotional support, frequent conversations were beneficial.
  • Increase in college webinar turnout: The flexibility allowed students to attend more college fairs and webinars or even watch a recorded session at their convenience. 
  • Collaboration got a boost: The academic community came together to engage students, devise ways to stay connected, reach out to universities, and assist students with the application process. They developed shared resources and held webinars to support the student community.
  • Universities opened their calendars: Universities responded by being proactive and opening their calendars on tools such as Calendly, asking counselors to book appointments to ask questions. Universities talked about their culture and life on campus through online college tours and webinars rather than just the facilities and courses offered.
  • Mental health improved: Student wellbeing received a significant impetus. Yoga sessions and well-being counseling were implemented in schools to encourage students to live healthy lifestyles—these steps aided in combating 'Zoom fatigue'.

Not only did the EdTech industry adapt to "the new normal," but universities and counselors also came together to make the college application process effortless for students. 

Post-Pandemic: Transforming university recruitments and student engagement

The pandemic provided the much-needed nudge to the industry towards making the education sector entirely digitized. And even after the world reopened, the industry continued to grow by leaps and bounds. 

So, as we return to pre-pandemic normalcy, will university recruiting teams abandon online platforms in favor of face-to-face events to meet student recruitment goals? That answer is most likely a resounding "NO" for the thousands of global institutions that experienced the benefits of digital recruiting firsthand during COVID-19.

Universities can recruit diverse talent by expanding into newer markets. Institutions have broadened the reach by connecting with local, national, and international speakers and networks. As a result, there have been more opportunities for colleagues across the sector to share best practices, which has aided in developing new resources and approaches.

Before a face-to-face event, universities can use online platforms to creatively share content about their programs, alumni, campus, and student life, maximizing limited in-person time to get to know a student or answer specific questions.

As we move forward, "hybrid" student engagement and recruitment is the future, providing prospective students with the best of both worlds by combining highly targeted in-person and customized virtual events. 

As Cialfo’s CEO and Co-founder, Rohan Pasari noted, “The systemic shifts in the past year have resulted in a unique opportunity for universities to engage students in new ways, which is exciting for all involved - there’s nothing like being on campus, but the future of education will be one which harnesses the best of both online and offline solutions.”

As for the counselors, the convenience of online tools and time flexibility made them more connected and confident in making every student's college journey more straightforward. Counselors were also able to interact with parents while building trust and understanding expectations in ways that were never this direct and convenient before. As a result, they could develop new approaches and assessments to guide their students better and keep track of their applications.  

Blended learning is the future

Blended learning or hybrid learning is where much of the sector is now looking as students prefer to use both online and in-person engagement. According to the Global Anthology study, more than 80% of students prefer that at least some of their courses or instructional meetings take place online. The study surveyed more than 5,000 higher education leaders and current students from various countries across the globe.

Hybrid learning will help students to feel part of a campus community, build connections with peers, and access the informal experiences that supplement their formal education while also benefiting from having some of their teaching delivered in a way that can be accessed at a time and place of their choosing. It can also help universities to improve efficiencies while maximizing quality and thinking more carefully about course design and structure.

Furthermore, in all this, technology played a huge part as tools like Google Drive, Zoom, Calendly, and Cialfo stepped up their game to make this transition more manageable. Online teaching and meeting platforms have helped to overcome physical distances. Students can access live lectures from world-renowned experts, enhancing their knowledge and comprehension.

Cialfo platform evolved into a one-stop-solution

The sudden campus shutdown led to a rush towards remote learning, which meant schools, counselors and universities had to transfer student data, curriculum content, teaching-learning resources, and processes online, almost overnight. 

High-tech + High-touch - Though technology is here to stay, student-counselor relationships are built effectively through personal meetings and interactions. Cialfo's platform and various tools made it much easier for students and counselors to stay connected, plan the college application process, and manage assignments and documentation. For example, Cialfo's live calendar sent reminders to students to submit tasks. 

"Cialfo’s premium profile and content library have been helpful in navigating the 'new normal' of international student engagement. We’ve been able to share our virtual opportunities and summer programs with students around the world.”

Michelle Trimpe, Director of International Admissions at the University of Chicago

Here is how Cialfo is helping universities, counselors, and students build a robust ecosystem:

  • Connecting 310,000 students worldwide with their right-fit universities.
  • Universities receive qualified applications quickly and securely from Cialfo network schools in 105+ countries, with complete student application and visa support from our regional teams.
  • Through our virtual events, networking sessions, college guidance workshops, and more, counselors can build strong relationships with students and fellow counselors in key regions.
  • Students can research nearly 50,000 different university programs from 50+ countries in Cialfo and find detailed college profiles, entrance requirements, and see their admission trends. 
  • Students and counselors can easily organize, complete, and track recommendation letters, essays, college resumes, scholarships, and applications. With Direct Apply, apply for various programs globally with just a single application form.
  • Take virtual campus tours, watch videos, request brochures, and view application deadlines. Find current information about the target colleges and career paths through virtual and in-person events.

Fill the form below to download the Cialfo features guide and leverage the platform in the best way.

Looking at the future

As the world reopens and schools are up and running, in-person teaching and learning are back in action, for obvious social advantages they offer. However, this has not affected the demand for online learning. In fact, virtual learning remains a part of the learning process and curriculum. 

The global k-12 education technology market size is projected to reach $56490 million by 2026 from $11850 million in 2019, at a CAGR of 25% during 2021-2026.

What is driving this growth?

  • Convenience and accessibility
  • Less expensive than traditional classroom learning
  • Personalized learning 
  • Growth in gamification of content
  • Adaption of the hybrid model 
  • Improvement in connectivity, infrastructure, and smartphone penetration 
  • Growth investment by private equity and venture capital 

The Asia-pacific region is expected to grow the fastest during the forecast period due to increasing internet connectivity options in developing countries like India and a surge in the usage of computing and smart gadgets by the general population. 

India's K-12 education market will reach $5672 million in 2016 from $781 million in 2020, with a CAGR of 39.15% during the forecast period.

Southeast Asia's K-12 education market will reach $330 million in 2026 from $38 million in 2020, with a CAGR of 43.3% during the forecast period. 

The debate around the benefits of digital learning has had its detractors. However, our findings indicate that while students and often counselors across the sector seek in-person interaction, there is also an understanding and appreciation of the enormous advantages and flexibility that digital learning affords. 

Students can benefit from better outcomes and greater flexibility that digital elements have introduced in the form of hybrid higher education. They also indicate a propensity to boost participation and break barriers for non-traditional students. As we emerge from the pandemic and into a post-Covid future, we have an opportunity to make higher education more effective and inclusive than ever before.

The Ed-tech sphere is still work in progress. However, amid the transition and chaos of the online world versus offline, we need to embrace the changes and find an equilibrium that keeps the common goal in focus: serving the student community better! 

We have created an easy to understand PDF guide explaining Cialfo features that help counselors. Fill the form below to download it and find out how you can benefit from our innovation.

Here's a guide to understand and use Cialfo features that help counselors globally

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