Today’s teachers have a real need for easy-to-use technology for educational purposes. When used in the classroom, educational technology has the potential to increase student creativity and productivity. Educational tech can take many forms and be used in many ways. For example, gamification and other play-based activities have increased student engagement and information retainment.
The right system is easy for school IT systems to implement, simple for teachers to use, and flexible enough for students’ academic needs. To meet the purpose of technology in the classroom, digital systems must be simple and flexible, yet robust enough to keep up with the ever-changing needs of modern educational systems.
An NEA (National Education Association) article has taken the position that educational technology “improves learning opportunities for students,” bolsters teacher effectiveness, and provides other benefits to schools. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of technology in the classroom in more detail.
The need for teachers to become more comfortable with digital learning tools is obvious. School-aged youth have grown up embracing technology. They live in a connected world, one where they hop from cell phones to tablets to Chromebooks or laptops with ease.
Recently, some schools have been forced to play a game of catch up, as the pandemic has required more use of digital learning tools for many.
But even as the pandemic has sped up the implementation of technology in the classroom, it has shown educators the need to ensure technology is used in an effective and productive manner.
How do you ensure classroom time is being used productively when using educational tech? Have your teachers strategically plan lessons so that the tech used is to their students’ best advantage, including using individualized or personalized learning.
The primary purpose of technology in the classroom is to offer personalized or individualized learning.
Personalized learning is a broad term that can include customized courses, learning environments tailored to students’ needs, personalized assessments, and more.
Personalized learning lets students learn at a speed most comfortable for them.
It also allows educators to help students who require more resources on an as-needed basis. Using the power of digital technology gives educators the flexibility to scale resources, helping those who need more assistance, while stepping back and allowing other students to continue on their own schedule.
There can be little doubt that digital tools may make individualized learning plans much easier for teachers to implement. Because of this, the part educational technology plays in personalized learning in the classroom can’t be overstated.
Specific ways technology can help in the classroom:
Many think that another purpose of technology in the classroom is to increase critical thinking and creativity. Some teachers are doing just that, using gamification and other play-based learning methods to achieve this goal.
Gamification in classrooms helps students learn by using video game-like rules and other video game elements for the purpose of education. It makes education fun, creating more student engagement.
Teachers may use gamification to help students take a second look at less desirable courses or assignments. Gamification adds excitement to rote learning exercises, turning an unpopular task into a positive experience, adding to students’ appreciation of the course.
Gamification for education may be created in two ways:
Gamification isn’t just fun and games—it improves critical thought. When considering the purpose of technology in the classroom, critical thought disguised as “fun and games” is a huge asset to student learning outcomes.
When students play video games, they not only are required to learn information to achieve the task, but they are also given immediate answers that function as feedback or reinforcement. By bringing gamification into the classroom, your students will further develop critical thinking and reasoning skills to answer questions in a fun yet educational environment. Here are some of the benefits of gamification:
It’s important to note that the assignment’s design will determine the success of play-based academic activities like gamification.
Some specific examples of gamification include:
A recent UNICEF report noted that careful planning was required for play-based activities like gamification. The UNICEF report stated that educators should consider whether they have all the personnel required to deliver quality play-based programs. Having the right EdTech, like screen mirroring that allows a teacher to manage screens from anywhere in the room, can help with this.
While virtual learning and effective teaching methods within the classroom are a primary focus of EdTech, the need to have emergency plans in place for our school system has never been more pressing.
The world seemed to change with the advent of the Covid pandemic. Schools were forced to put digital learning systems into place almost overnight. According to an article in US News, almost 50 percent of American youth were enrolled in some form of remote or hybrid instruction by the end of March 2021.
By late 2021, many of those students had returned to the classrooms. But even though students returned to in-class learning, the need for educational technology has continued to grow. Recent events drove home the need for more technology in classrooms.
Schools are seeking out ways to adopt new educational technology to help teachers increase productivity levels and adapt quickly to whatever changes may arise.
More and more school systems will need to replace their ad hoc systems recently put in place with robust digital platforms tailored specifically for educational purposes.
As an article in Education Week noted, going forward, schools should think of digital integration in schools less as a “break open in emergency” situation and instead find more ways to incorporate educational technology into the day-to-day learning process.
Of course, many schools thought they had digital systems in place, only to find that many of their contingency plans didn’t hold up to the stressors of long-term use when tested by the pandemic.
Some schools may have outdated technologies. Meanwhile, others may have had some basic digital learning contingencies in place, only to find that there were still many others they hadn’t considered that were necessary for long-term student learning.
If nothing else, the Covid pandemic has shown many teachers, parents, and even students just how great the digital divide is in academia and how devastating it can be for students who need to access digital tools for education.
For example, on an international level, students’ access to technology is lacking, with one report showing that as many as two-thirds of the world’s school-aged children do not have internet in their homes (1.3 billion of children 3-17 years of age).
All the recent attention in the press has helped increase awareness of the problem worldwide. In the US, at least, the digital gap has decreased significantly because of stories like these. However, millions of children in the US still lack internet access at home for virtual learning.
Using the right technology in the classroom can help not only students become more effective—but also teachers. Teachers who embrace technology are more likely to communicate with students successfully. Just as technology freed up businesses to do more with their workers in the private sector, these same innovations are helping teachers do more in classrooms.
One of the best ways digital educational collaboration tools (both synchronous and asynchronous) can help educators is by relieving them from repetitive tasks.
An EdSurge article gave some examples of how technology can help teachers, both in and out of the classroom include:
Technology can also help teachers be more effective by freeing them up to act more like lesson facilitators. The use of technology may untether teachers from desks, giving them the ability to move around more freely in the classroom.
For example, teachers can augment in-class lectures with videos or presentations via conference calls, video conferences, etc. As the presentation goes on, they may move around the classroom to give one-on-one assistance. Likewise, screen mirroring technology can allow a teacher to manage the screens of an entire classroom while freely walking around the room to assist students who need additional help.
Anyone familiar with the challenges of implementing educational technology systems will tell you this: to create tangible benefits to students, classrooms require more than the addition of a few laptops and monitors. When it comes to technology in classrooms, tech needs to be more than a delivery system of information.
Efficient digital learning is more likely when educators use interactive technology. For example, when teachers give students the ability to share feedback and interact with them during class using tools like screen mirroring technology, interactive participation naturally remains higher.
Many educational IT specialists and teachers are trying to figure out the same thing: How do they beef up their current video conferencing and other technology resources to help students now?
But a better question is this: can we really afford to waste time with amateur solutions for our students’ education when professional educational technology tools are available? Tools like:
The right educational technology in the classroom can make all the difference for student learning outcomes.
There’s no time like the present to start using vital educational collaboration tools like the ones mentioned above. Vivi can get you the tools you need to help students achieve better learning while becoming more creative and productive. These tools also help teachers/educators become more productive in the classroom. Click this link to book a demo and learn more about Vivi.
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