Looking from a global education and EdTech perspective, the year 2020 has been unlike any other – a global pandemic that forced the education industry to transform itself from a traditional classroom teaching setting to a fully remote and digital environment. This has been a stress test for educators and students alike.
In this setting, it was not surprising that EdTech software solutions such as Ouriginal, were also seeing a sudden change in their usage and demand. The Ouriginal software solution enables educators to analyze documents in terms of their originality. Students submit their assignments, papers, or exams into our system where the texts get checked for similarities by different algorithms and an analysis report is generated.
Given that we had access to data that when analyzed correctly, could reveal some really interesting trends, we decided to conduct a study to analyze what exactly were the effects of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns on EdTech solutions such as ours.
In the study, we analysed three metrics over 2019 and 2020:
- The total number of documents submitted to Ouriginal.
- The average number of words in submitted documents.
- The total volume of content submitted i.e., total number of words scanned by Ouriginal.
Basically, what we wanted to find out was – were more documents being checked during the lockdowns or less? Was digital learning affecting the length of a student’s assignment? Were more people resorting to EdTech solutions?
1. Total number of documents submitted
Analysis of this metric revealed that overall, the total number of documents submitted into our systems increased considerably in 2020 as compared to 2019 (chart below). In fact, mid-March onwards – week 12, the increase in number was significantly higher than the previous year and coincided with the time the pandemic kicked in.
This metric maintained its upward trajectory throughout the duration of our study and our conclusion is that during the pandemic, EdTech scanning achieved a breakthrough and established itself as a standard tool in the educational sector.
2. The average number of words in submitted documents
Using a simple formula, we calculated the average number of words per document. It is important to bear in mind that this metric does not tell us anything about the content or the quality of a document, but it is an indicator of the length of a document which indirectly indicates the effort put into writing the document.
Like the first metric, we observed that around the period when the pandemic started to take hold and a lot of countries went into lockdowns, the length of the submitted documents became significantly shorter as compared to the same period last year. We concluded that students in a home-schooling environment tend to write shorter texts, or arguably, put less effort into their homework and exams. Interestingly, after the first wave of the pandemic ended and regular school started, the length of the documents returned to normal.
3. Total volume of content submitted
If documents increased in number but became shorter in length in 2020 as compared to 2019, the next question that arises automatically is whether the total volume of scanned content increased or decreased?
We analyzed the total number of words (number of documents * average number of words) submitted and scanned by our system. Our data showed that for most of 2020, the volume was considerably higher than in 2019.
Even for the period when documents became considerably shorter, the increase in the number of submitted documents outweighed the temporary effect of shorter documents leading to an increase in the total volume of content. The steady and sustainable growth of scanned volume highlighted the increasing importance of tools such as Ouriginal in education.
Our study revealed how the forced digitalization changed the educational landscape drastically in 2020. While acceptance of EdTech solutions clearly increased during the period, the study also found that students needed the guidance and encouragement of their teachers even more within digital learning surroundings.
Summary of our key findings:
- The steady increase in the usage of EdTech solutions over the few last years showed a significant jump when the pandemic started. High usage continues to persist, indicating a breakthrough in the usage of EdTech solutions such as Ouriginal’s.
- During the pandemic written essays became shorter, but this effect was not long-lasting and was most probably linked to home-schooling periods indicating that students were putting in lesser effort when studying remotely.
- More and more data volumes were processed by EdTech solutions indicating the increasing importance and role of technical tools in education worldwide.
If you would like to read the study in detail, please use the link below:
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