For 21st century students, digital technology has become a natural extension of everyday life—from communicating with friends and family on smartphones to watching movies on tablets and accessing infinite amounts of information via search engines. It’s not surprising that students are embracing technology in the classroom. While some teachers are receptive to the integration of educational technology, others feel apprehensive about the growing coexistence of technology and education.
Here are some common fears from teachers:
- Unfamiliar territory – Implementing new technology in the classroom can be challenging for some teachers. Blogs and social media apps may be easy to use, but thinking of innovative ways to apply them in the classroom is a different matter.
- Lack of funding – Although many teachers are open to adding Ed Tech into their arsenal of teaching tools, funding from schools may not always be available to invest in educational technology. As Ed Tech tools are being made produced at a rapid pace and an increasing amount of teachers wanting to utilize them, many schools won’t be at the same level of technological adoption due to a lack of funding.
- Too much distraction – While social media sites can serve as useful platforms for collaboration and communication in the classroom, they can also become a distraction for students. After all, Facebook and Twitter are commonly used to scroll through pictures of your friend’s cats or latest vacation —a tempting distraction during class time.
- Redefining roles – As Ed Tech tools offer new possibilities for engaged learners, teachers wonder what their new role in the classroom will be. With Ed Tech taking place in the classroom, teachers are no longer the sole dispenser of knowledge and students are more likely to lead their own learning.
These are all valid concerns, especially for teachers who have yet to embrace emerging technology. However, educational technology doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult to use. With patience and an open mind, educational technology can help instructors immensely in engaging students and fostering deeper, meaningful learning. Here are just some ways technology can help in the classroom:
- Accommodate each student – Digital tools can deliver content in many, different ways that can be tailored to every kind of student. Whether it’s an excelling student, average learner or a struggling student, educational technology can help to accommodate each learning type.
- Analyze and track student progress – If technology is to be properly integrated in the classroom, it not only has to help teachers work more efficiently, but also represent students’ progress. One of the main advantages of certain online educational tools is the ability to monitor and analyze student responses to the class material, showing data to the teacher, who can then use it to assist students who may be struggling.
- Foster independent learning – Although a shift in roles may be a concern for some teachers, embracing educational technology in the class can empower students. Here, the teacher becomes the facilitator of knowledge and understanding, rather than the deliverer. In doing this, students are in charge of their own learning and encouraged to become more engaged in the class subject.
- Make learning relevant – With online technology already allowing students to access information in unprecedented ways, it’s not surprising that students are receptive to utilizing technology in the classroom. By using educational software on iOS or Android devices that students are already adept at using, for example, learning the class material becomes relevant and more accessible.
Educational technology is meant to help, to foster growth and new understanding for students. If the integration of new technology in the classroom seems overwhelming or scary, remember: focus on learning how to use the tools step by step—they are there to make life easier. The right kind of Ed Tech can help educators adapt to changes that enable student growth and engagement, and embrace Ed Tech tools as a critical part of student learning.
Emmanuel Ponce is a communications team member at both Enable Education and Infinite Octopus.