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EdTech Predictions for 2021

As we wrap up yet another year of making games and taking names, we’re celebrating the start of 2021 with our annual roundup of EdTech predictions! 


(Image source: Know Your Meme)

So…what does the future hold for our industry? Of course, only time will tell – but in the meantime, we must prognosticate! Here’s a look at some of the biggest EdTech trends we’re expecting to see throughout 2021, from the perspective of your friendly neighborhood educational game developer:

Distance learning is here to stay

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, it’s certain that one of last year’s biggest trends will carry over into 2021 – that is, remote learning. And while the distance learning struggles are real (for learners, families, and teachers alike!), doing everything we can to keep both ourselves and our communities safe amidst the pandemic will be worth it in the long run. And thankfully, the abundance of digital learning tools like Google Classroom is helping to alleviate some of distance learning’s biggest pain points – and similarly, we’re seeing a lot of classrooms adopting game-based learning as a tool to help facilitate hands-on, meaningful learning opportunities in remote classroom settings. And this makes sense – digital educational games offer easy access, robust interactivity, co-learning opportunities, ample opportunities to demonstrate knowledge, and more. Don’t get us wrong, we’re really looking forward to a return to in-person instruction – but in the meantime, we’re excited to see the current circumstances prompt more classrooms to investigate the power of game-based learning as an EdTech tool!

Further reading: Digital Games for Remote Instruction

Accessibility matters

It’s critical that all learners have access to quality digital learning resources – which means that ensuring our EdTech products are accessible to all must be a top priority for our teams. As an educational game developer, we’re thrilled to have seen huge strides for bringing issues of accessibility in gaming to light in recent years – namely due to efforts from organizations such as The AbleGamers Charity and Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox Adaptive Controller. And though our industry still has a long way to go in terms of ensuring that the games we know and love are accessible to all players, we’re doing our part to ensure our upcoming games are designed with player accessibility in mind. Early examples of these efforts can be found in our recent iCivics titles, each offering full Spanish language modes, in-game glossaries of key terms, along with additional supports for English language learners. We’re looking forward to incorporating even more accessibility features in our future titles – keep your eyes peeled for more later this year!

Further reading: Assistive Technology and Game-Based Learning

Preparing today’s learners for tomorrow’s workforce

If you’ve attended a talk by CEO Dan White in the past year or so, you’ve likely heard him reference AI Superpowers Kai-Fu Lee’s prediction that “within the next 15 years, 40-50% of routine jobs in the US will be replaced by artificial intelligence.” To that end, it’s critical that we teach today’s learners key 21st century skills that are difficult to automate: problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and so on. However, we can’t teach 21st century skills with 20th century pedagogies – new jobs necessitate new skills and learning modalities. As a result, we’re exploring the intersection of game-based learning and teaching soft skills with our upcoming game RoboCo – a robotics sandbox experience that hopes to ignite player interest in STEM fields by offering learners the tools to unleash their problem solving skills and creative potential. For more on RoboCo as we approach our release on Steam Early Access later this year, stay tuned right here on our blog.

Further reading: The Robots are Coming

There you have it! Our 2021 EdTech predictions, based on the many trends we’ve seen impacting our organization and the world of EdTech at large. What do you think of our list? Know of other trends worthy of a spot alongside our picks? We want to hear from you – get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

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