How Teachers and Students Alike Benefit from Educational Technology

Technology has had its fair share of stick. The smartphone, for instance, is a hub for students to engage with one another on social media platforms, and the impact it’s having on the rising generation is, without doubt, a hot topic in today’s current sociocultural climate.

As a whole, it seems that we only see the negative in things, as the positive pass us by. This is not just with technology, but a matter of things; bad news will, more often than not, always make the headlines before any good news.

But in regards to the world of schools, colleges and universities, the influence of technology has led to a new breed of 21st-century phenomena: Educational Technology.

A heavy technological presence can be found within the majority of classrooms and lecture halls in schools, colleges, universities and other academic institutions across the globe. It has helped alter a historically didactic operation while helping to improve the learning process for both teachers and students, and here’s how:

Participation, engagement and assessment

I was lucky enough to witness the introduction of interactive SMART boards in classrooms. Watching my teacher press the little diamonds in order to complete the orientation process every morning blew my mind; it was a whole new experience. Gone were the days of scrawling on a chalkboard.

I remember the sheer elation of being picked to come up and write something on the board and having to decide whether you wanted to use the red, green, blue or black pen. The bottom line is, excitement encouraged interaction, and interaction helped develop a keen sense of interest in the topic that was being taught.

Playing educational games with pupils on one clear, visible screen at the front of the class helps to ensure students are engaging with the learning material at all times. A young pupil who is captured by the excitement of a whole-class-activity might not be as stimulated if a sheet of paper with similar content was put in front of them.

But it also allows the teacher to clearly observe the participation levels of the class, and whether or not an individual pupil is struggling, both academically or interactionally. Focus could then be asserted onto that particular child to ascertain the areas of school they are finding difficult and be acted upon accordingly. It’s a win-win situation.

Because if truth be told a teacher does not exist solely to teach but to coach, too. They are not just expected to stand up in front of a class and deliver a lesson, but to guide and instruct to ensure understanding across the whole class contingent, too. Technology makes this process a great deal easier, which can be used to individually asses and record data through specific subject tests on computers. Teachers can then use the results to determine the ability levels of each individual student, making their role as a coach all the more simple.

Inclusivity

The inclusivity of edtech — incorporating attractive teaching methods for all types of learners — is probably the most logical reason to implement it within the classroom.

Incorporating different ways to teach a topic is paramount because every pupil must be considered a separate entity. Some may respond better to visual, some to auditory and some to kinesthetic learning materials, and technology brings about ease of access to all three.

A life skill for children in schools

More often than not, a Key Stage 1 child will be able to operate a computer better than their teacher (depending on the teacher’s age). Some would say it’s worrying, but the truth is, nowadays everything is done with technology. Learning the basics — using a mouse and keyboard, running programmes, saving and loading work — will stand children in good stead going forward, allowing them to adapt quickly and efficiently to the tech-heavy world we live in.

Even the Higher Education Edition of the NMC Horizon Report in 2017 explained that integrating the use of technology in schools is about “generating a deeper understanding of the digital environment, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others.”

Feedback

Using polls in universities is a fantastic way for lecturers to engage with their students.

I remember one of my lecturers using MeToo, an application that enables users to participate in live polls. He would construct the polls and as we all answered, the results would appear on the interactive board at the front of the lecture room. We all took it as a bit of fun, but ultimately, it proved a useful tool for my lecturer who was gaining valuable information that could be used to tailor his lectures.

It gave his lectures a focus. An area that we clearly understood might have only been spoken about briefly, whereas another area that was less-known had lectures constructed specifically to help explain them. It was a brief, yet extremely effective use of edtech that helped the lecturer understand the areas of his module that needed more time dedicated to it.

Educational technology comes in all shapes and sizes and helps create an ever-changing cycle of change within the education process. Integrating fresh edtech ideas into the classroom not only helps to keep students engaged, but proposes the possibility of a whole new world for students and instructors alike to benefit from.


Originally published at www.kortext.com by Matthew Maynard