EdTech Participates in Wellness Education Through AI, Big Data, and Low-Tech Solutions

EdTech Participates in Wellness Education Through AI, Big Data, and Low-Tech Solutions

This initiative by the EdTech industry is helping it achieve new milestones.

Since its early days, the pandemic has significantly affected children's lives. Changes in their routines, lockdowns and the risk of getting sick have all contributed to problems involving their mental health. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Unicef has found that 27% have felt anxiety and 15% depression. Also, 1 in 2 of the respondents report feeling less motivated to do activities they usually enjoy, which is concerning for educators, parents, and institutions.

Education is an aspect of their lives that shifted drastically due to the lockdowns. Almost overnight, schools and students had to fast-track the digital transformation that was already underway and adopt remote learning. Since then, awareness of the importance of mental health in the ed-tech industry has grown considerably, and I expect it to continue to do so over the next few years.

In my experience as the Education Director at TBox, I've learned that understanding and highlighting the need for helping our children adapt to their reality is the first step towards making mental health a core component of the design process when coming up with solutions and tools. This way, we can create a safe and supportive environment involving students, parents, teachers, and principals.

Over the last two years, I have seen how technology has rapidly adapted to facilitate the creation of methodologies that provide students with better learning experiences. Moreso than tools, these have a higher impact on their wellness, so it's essential to make sure they serve this purpose. Here we look at how ed-tech contributes to students' mental health and well-being.

How Ed-Tech Is Helping 

A significant problem education faces right now, which has become more apparent with remote learning, is students' disengagement. The traditional one-size-fits-all approach that worked for many years doesn't cut it anymore. It has become more evident than ever that all students learn at different paces and require specific programs that fit their speed and needs.

This is one of the main reasons personalized education is one of the biggest trends in the ed-tech industry across all levels. This approach leverages enormous amounts of data and uses AI to design curriculums that change depending on students' performance and interests. Currently, this personalized approach is widely adopted for process-based learning like maths and language, but soon it'll apply to all subjects.

Concerning mental health, this advancement is very interesting as it helps students receive what they need and not what everyone else is having. This way, the children won't feel left behind, and the teachers will be able to closely follow their process and make adjustments when necessary.

Another way ed-tech has improved students' mental health is by establishing better communication tools that foster connections between kids, their peers, and teachers. Thanks to this experience, we have witnessed how technology, instead of distancing us, has brought us together. And we know that creating a solid support network is fundamental for our well-being.

Moreover, education is a social experience. We process information better when discussing and contrasting it with others. At TBox, we have seen how the small-group feature added early on into the pandemic to Google Meets and Microsoft Teams -something that seems very insignificant-  actually helped some students that were very shy to participate more and talk to their classmates.

From the teacher's perspective, data-visualization graphics added to our platforms have helped them follow each student's learning path more closely so they can easily detect when something is not right and make timely interventions. This gives the children a sense of importance that makes them feel like someone is listening and paying attention.

Finally, ed-tech has helped popularize novel teaching techniques that go beyond lectures. Gamification and interactive exercises are the best way to keep students motivated and engaged. Some of these are elaborate developments that involve AR and are completely immersive, while others might involve students making their own educational games. All of these are equally effective and fun for the kids.

A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Although there have been many improvements in the ed-tech industry to consider students' mental health, the truth is we still have a lot to do. And it is important to note that these efforts should not fall back solely on the education system. Parents, educational leaders, and teachers must work together to create a space where children feel it is ok to ask for help.

From my experience in the ed-tech industry, I have learned that mental health is not a sort of goal you reach, and that's it; you can move on. I take it more as an ever-changing process built upon over time that requires upkeep and is affected by many external and internal factors, which should all be addressed to guarantee students' wellness.

Educational leaders, parents, and teachers need to keep learning and updating their knowledge on the subject to serve children better. In this connected world, balance is the keyword to achieving greater student performance, lower dropout rates, higher student engagement, and overall keeping kids happy, which is the most important factor to ensure success. Technology can help us get there if integrated creatively to well-designed methodologies and curriculums.

Author
Hugo Aguirre, Development and Education Director of TBox

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