Fourth Industrial Revolution

3 technologies that are making education more accessible

Education technology accessibility learning remote working

Educational technology, or ‘edtech’, entered public consciousness over the past year Image: Unsplash/Dose Media

Natalie Marchant
Writer, Forum Agenda
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Fourth Industrial Revolution is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Fourth Industrial Revolution

This article is part of: The Davos Agenda
  • Educational technology has become increasingly important after the COVID-19 pandemic closed classrooms across the world.
  • AR, VR and AI technologies are improving accessibility for pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities.
  • ‘Edtech’ also makes learning less location-dependent, while offline services can help learners with no access to the internet.

Educational technology - or "edtech" - entered public consciousness over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic moved learners young and old out of the classroom and into the virtual world of remote education.

One of its key benefits is improved accessibility to education – both in terms of helping pupils with learning difficulties or disabilities and in making learning less location-dependent.

Here are three technologies that are changing the way we learn.

1. Augmented and virtual reality

The key benefits of AR and VR technologies to education are making learning interactive and thereby more engaging – they can even add gaming elements to textbook material.

Curiscope’s Virtuali-tee is a t-shirt and app that enables users to learn about the human body. One person puts on the t-shirt while the other uses an AR app on a smartphone to virtually reveal – and explore – the various layers inside the body.

The technology can also have benefits for neurodiverse learners. Floreo is a telehealth platform that uses VR headsets to deliver social and behavioural therapy in schools and other settings.

2. Artificial intelligence

AI technology can benefit learners by enabling them to learn outside the classroom with virtual feedback, making learning more engaging and tailoring material to suit the individual. For example, Sparx Maths uses statistics and machine learning – a simple form of AI – to support teachers in providing personalized math homework.

The UK company claims that using the programme four hours a week, on average, can increase a pupil’s GCSE maths exam result by a grade. Sparx can also help disadvantaged children progress at the same rate as their more advantaged counterparts, reducing the attainment gap.

Meanwhile, KidSense.AI uses deep learning technology to offer a sophisticated automatic speech recognition system for children. Trained using children’s voice samples, KidSense powers the Roybi Robot – an AI-driven smart toy that teaches languages and basic skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

3. Wireless technology

While edtech can prove an invaluable teaching tool, particularly in the virtual classroom, it can be rendered redundant in countries or regions with limited or no internet access.

Zaya’s ClassCloud is a plug-and-play device that can support up to 40 laptops or tablets in the classroom over Wi-Fi and provides the same standard of user experience whether it is connected to the internet or not. It has been used to improve access to high-quality education in rural locations in India.

Wireless technology can also enable users to download material on to a device in the learning environment and take it home with them, meaning educational providers can loan out devices to people who may not otherwise have access to them.

The offline learning app Kolibri, meanwhile, enables content to be seeded onto devices in areas where there is an internet connection – such as a school or a factory – and share it with others over an offline local network.

Education for all

Edtech’s greatest promise is to widen access to education for everyone, no matter where they are in the world – something which has become an increasing priority during the pandemic.

Entrepreneurs and innovators who want to have an impact in areas such as education are invited to submit their solutions to have a chance to work with leading organizations via the World Economic Forum’s UpLink initiative – an open digital platform that aims to accelerate concrete progress in meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.


What is the World Economic Forum doing to improve digital intelligence in children?

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Fourth Industrial RevolutionDavos Agenda
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Space: The $1.8 Trillion Opportunity for Global Economic Growth

Bart Valkhof and Omar Adi

February 16, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum