Edtech, or education technology, has become one of the hottest topics these days among parents and educators around the world. Educators who are familiar with edtech know how important it is to find the right way to use edtech so as to unlock the world of effective learning for their students. For those who don’t know much about this trend, ‘edtech’ may seem like just another buzzword. So, what exactly is education technology?
To put it simply, edtech is the practice of introducing technology tools into the classroom to create a more engaging and individualized learning experience. Edtech can exist in the form of products, apps, and tools to enhance the learning process for students and improve teaching experience as well.
Edtech classrooms have moved far beyond ancient desktop computers and are now replaced with interactive online courses and even robots taking notes and recording lectures for students.
Key edtech statistics
- 86% of teachers think it is essential to use edtech
- 92% of teachers would like to use edtech
- Educators in the U.S. spend more than $3 billion per year on digital learning content
- On average, electronic teaching resources (e.g., textbooks) cost 35% less.
How do edtech help students and teachers
An influx of technology is opening up new learning opportunities for students of all ages across the globe. Here’s how edtech impacts the way students learn:
Such edtech solutions as cloud-based tools foster collaboration in the classroom — cloud-based apps allow students to upload their homework, work digitally on projects with one another and ask for help or a piece of advice.
- 24/7 access to learning
IoT devices are making it possible for students to have full access to the classroom in a digital environment. Whether they’re at school or at home, connected devices are giving students Wi-Fi and cloud access to complete work at their own pace with individual schedules. Apps can also help students and teachers stay connected in case students have questions.
- The “flipped” classroom
Traditionally, students have had to listen to lectures and new material in the classroom and use this knowledge at home when there’s no one to assist them. But with video lectures and learning apps, students can now get acquainted with the new material wherever they want and at their own pace, and then practise together with their peers and teachers in the classroom, having an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the right answers.
- Personalized educational experience
Edtech opens up opportunities for educators to create personalized learning plans based on student’s strengths, skills, and interests. For example, video content tools help students learn at their own pace. With analytics tools, teachers can see which students have difficulties with certain lectures or exercises and offer further assistance with the subject.
Edtech tools educators can use
1. Automated grading
Artificial intelligence tools make grading easier. These apps use machine learning to analyze and assess students’ answers based on the assignment specifications. Using these tools saves hours that teachers usually spend grading assignments. Extra free time provides more flexibility and allows teachers to spend more time on other meaningful tasks.
2. Classroom management tools
Management apps allow teachers to send parents and students reminders about projects, homework assignments, and deadlines. They even allow students to self-monitor classroom noise levels. Thus, introducing these tools makes the education environment less-chaotic and more collaborative.
3. Paperless classrooms
Paper waste and printing expenses are a thing of the past thanks to edtech. Classrooms that have gone digital bring an easier way to grade assignments, complete projects, and pass tests without hundreds of paper files. Going digital not only brings more convenience but also promotes overall greener policies in the classroom.
Ideas for using edtech in schools
1. Virtual field trips
Virtual reality (VR) is just one type of educational technology being increasingly used in schools. VR goggles boost engagement and enable students to become fully immersed in the learning experience. With the use of VR goggles, teachers can take students on a virtual field trip such as exploring the oceans or space without leaving the classroom.
2. Smart speakers
Many teachers are finding creative ways to utilize smart speakers like Google Home, Apple’s HomePod, or Amazon’s Echo Dot in the classroom such as assisting with basic classroom management; being a research tool for students and more, or promoting phonetic learning and practice.
3. Interactive displays and smart boards
Smart boards provide students with an enriched learning experience by projecting visual elements such as diagrams, charts, videos, and more, right on a huge screen in front of students. Many students find it more entertaining to learn than ever before.
6. School learning management systems (LMS)
From managing student enrollment and helping teachers offer personalized ways of tutoring to allow students to take responsibility for their own learning journey, a school LMS is a valuable piece of edtech with a lot of benefits. One of the biggest advantages of a school learning management system is that it makes all learning activities centralized and appropriately tracked, creating detailed reports and allowing educators to make strategic decisions. Additionally, it allows parents to become more involved in their children’s learning process.
Whatever knowledge and skills we transmit to our children via our school systems are going to influence us for the rest of our lives. By failing to invest in education, we will lose an opportunity to have skilled workers, build competitive advantages, and generate growth in various industries and sectors.
Improving the efficiency of our educational systems requires investment — in skills, resources, and most importantly, innovations. Edtech is the core part of such innovations, and without it, we cannot hope for the best learning outcomes.