The onset of a pandemic lockdown ensured an influx of technology that would open up new opportunities for students (at all levels) to learn in new ways. Edtech improves so much of cour claroom practice and pupil experience. It promotes collaboration and inclusivity in the classroom. In this post we will look at five major ways edtech improves life directly in the way students learn and how teachers teach.
1. Edtech Improves Collaboration
Cloud-enabled tools and tablets are building collaboration in the classroom. Tablets loaded with learning games and online lessons give children the tools to solve problems together. Meanwhile, cloud-based apps let students upload their homework and digitally converse with one another about their thought processes and for any help they may need.
2. Edtech Improves 24/7 Access to Learning
Mobile devices are making it easier for students to have full access to the classroom in a digital environment. Whether a pupil is at school, on the bus or at home, these connected devices are giving students access to complete work at their own pace (and on their own schedules) without being hampered by the restriction of needing to be present in a physical classroom. If further reinforcement of the topic beign studied is needed, then pupils can review learning material to build upon the knowledge gained in class. While the technology and access existed before COVID, the widespread use and implementation did not.
3. Edtech Improves “Flipping” the Classroom
Edtech tools are flipping the traditional notion of classrooms and education. Traditionally, students have to listen to lectures or read in class then work on projects and homework at home. With video lectures and learning apps, students can now watch lessons at home at their own pace, using class time to collaboratively work on projects as a group or other tasks such as applying the knowledge of what they have learned. This type of learning style helps foster self-learning, creativity and a sense of collaboration among students.
4. Edtech Improves Personalised Learning Experiences
Edtech opens up opportunities for teachers to create personalised learning plans for each of their pupils. This approach aims to customise learning based on a student’s strengths, skills and interests.
Video content tools help students learn at their own pace and because students can pause and rewind lectures, these videos can help students fully grasp lessons. With learning analytics, teachers can see which students had trouble with certain lessons and be able to offer further help on the subject – thus helping to support those pupils who need it most.
Instead of relying on stress-inducing testing to measure academic success, teachers are now turning to apps that consistently measure overall aptitude. More constant measurements can show learning trends that teachers can use to craft specialised learning plans based on each pupil’s strengths and weaknesses or, more importantly, to identify any negative trends that can be proactively thwarted with timely intervention.
5. Edtech Improves Attention-Grabbing Lessons
Do you remember sitting in class, half-listening, half-day dreaming, while a teacher read from the notes? (maybe just my experience). Now, with a seemingly infinite number of gadgets and outside influences vying for a student’s attention, it is crucial to craft lesson plans that can be both gripping and educational. Edtech supporters (like myself) may say that technology is the solution. Some of the more innovative examples of students using tech to boost classroom participation include interacting with other classrooms around the world via video, having students submit homework assignments as videos or podcasts and even gamifying problem-solving.
Students aren’t the only group benefitting from edtech. Teachers are now seeing edtech as a means to develop efficient learning practices and save time in the classroom. Here are four ways edtech is helping teachers get back to doing what they do — teaching.
1. Edtech Improves Automated Grading
Intelligent tools are making grading a breeze. Setting quizzes that can grade automatically is a massive time-saver for teachers. Beyond that, artificially intelligent apps use machine learning to analyse and assess answers based on the specifications of the assignment. Using these tools, especially for objective assignments like true/false or fill-in-the-blank assessments, can free up hours that teachers usually spend grading assignments. Extra free time for teachers provides more flexibility for less prep and one-on-one time with both struggling and gifted students.
2. Edtech Improves Classroom Management Tools
Let’s face it, trying to get a large group of kids to do anything can be challenging. Educational technology has the potential to make every aspect of the classroom — from the way teachers communicate with their students to how students behave — a little easier. There are now apps that help send parents and students reminders about projects or homework assignments, as well as tools that allow students to self-monitor classroom noise levels. Google classroom, which a lot of schools chose to use during lockdown has a feature to invite parents The addition of management tools in the classroom brings forth a less-chaotic, more collaborative environment.
3. Edtech Improves Classrooms Without the Paper
This has been an aspect of school life that has been ushered in as a result of the COVID pandemic, but is still something that requires continued effort to ensure we don’t return to being paper-based in our classrooms. Printing budgets, wasting paper and countless hoursspent at the copy machine must be a thing of the past thanks to edtech. Classrooms that have moved to being digital create an easier way for teachers to mark assignments, lessen the burden of having to safeguard hundreds of homework files and promote overall greener policies in the classroom. By promoting greener policies in the classroom, we can then impact whole-school communities by introducing paper-free schools.
4. Edtech Improves the Removal of Guesswork
Teachers spend countless hours trying to assess the skills or areas of improvement of their students. Edtech can change all of this. There are several tools, data platforms and apps that can aid the assessment process of a student’s skills and needs, and relay the data back to the teacher. The ability for edtech to carry out the ‘grunt-work’ of data collection must be an area for further exploration among teachers for the better utilisation of their time in school.
It can and has happened where harmful studying trends aren’t noticed by teachers for a number of months. However, these trends can be identified by edtech tools that use real-time data. This can help teachers reveal a student’s strengths, weaknesses and even signs of learning disabilities, in a shorter space of time, allowing them to set in motion a proactive plan to help.
There are many facets to how edtech improves life for both student and teacher. Like in so many other posts, the most important route to success requires the teacher to pick one or two solid areas in which a large amount can be gained with a smaller amount of effort. All of these improvements can be implemented incrementally to allow time for the practices to become embedded and natural. Taken as a whole, these incremental changes will show real improvements for the pupils in the classroom – and that’s what it’s all about!
Post your thoughts and experiences about how edtech has improved your classroom practices in the comment section!