Estonia is presenting its success as an education nation at Expo 2020 Dubai with the most popular EdTech software Opiq – an interactive digital learning materials platform that replaces all the old-school textbooks.
Imagine an elementary school science lesson as it gets underway. The teacher taps on the interactive whiteboard and opens a chapter of a digital textbook titled “Birds”. Students sitting at their desks are busy with a smartphone or a tablet. The teacher looks at them and smiles because she can see that they are using Opiq just like she is. She zooms in on a photo of a stork – a common bird in Estonia – and starts explaining the different body parts of the bird while students open the same photo on their own devices and turn attention to the whiteboard.
Education innovation has been part of the overall digital mindset of Estonia for quite some time. Opiq is introducing the best e-education practices at Expo 2020 Dubai as part of the classroom of the future.
Opiq collaborates with leading educational publishers and public sector institutions to provide a comprehensive fully digital curriculum service for the schools, teachers, and pupils. The schools have been using Opiq since 2016 and by 2019 the usage of digital textbooks in Estonia had grown more than ten times.
As the science class continues the teacher invites a student to the front of the class to solve an interactive task. On the touch screen, the student marks common characteristics of the birds and taps the button “check answer”. Several red boxes pop up to indicate incorrect answers. But no worries – the “try again” button is there so the student is free to take another turn or continue learning at home at his own pace. Every chapter in Opiq has interactive exercises that students can solve through personalised accounts. That way Opiq offers a private and safe interactive study space and students can make as many mistakes as they need to.
Digital learning materials
The Coronavirus pandemic has created a demand for a different kind of teaching and learning and made clear how important it is to have access to quality education through digital platforms. During the distance learning period, Opiq functions as an immensely helpful tool to learn and connect, quickly becoming the most popular e-learning platform in Estonia.
Hypothetically an Estonian pupil could be sitting in the classroom of the Estonian Expo Pavilion and solving a task together with his classmates back home via Opiq. As the test tasks are processed immediately, it saves a great deal of teachers’ time – no need for manual marking. As expected, this is the most popular feature among educators.
Digitising study materials
Opiq offers multiple interconnected software solutions that cover all essential parts of the field of education – starting with an authoring tool for digitising study materials, the learning management system and digital library for schools to all the way to educational data analytics. Specialised application Opiq Stat is the newest addition and, by collecting the actual patterns of digital learning, it helps publishers to develop better materials and gives educational policymakers better tools for decision making.
While all of Estonia’s 500+ schools use Opiq, the international outreach has led to pilot projects in Finland, Kazakhstan, and Kenya. The Expo 2020 Dubai was an opportunity for Opiq to connect with new partners, foremost educational content providers who wish to distribute high-quality digital learning materials, and the public sector stakeholders who are looking to implement a data-based approach to educational strategies.
The article by Maris Hellrand was first published in Life in Estonia magazine.