As an administrator, you know there’s no doubt that technology adds a new layer to educational practices. The combination of education and
technology, commonly called edtech, has countless benefits. During the pandemic, it became a vital resource when remote learning was necessary. Edtech makes learning math facts fun and challenging through gamification aligned with state standards. Students become scientists with virtual simulations that bring concepts to the screen that otherwise would have been unavailable. Struggling readers get boosts with access to lessons that involve different literacy areas, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They can even visit museums and national parks through virtual field trips.
But edtech can be a double-edged sword through misguided use. Without proper guidance, students can access misinformation, entertainment, and games not intended for educational purposes. That’s why it’s crucial to have clear guidelines and expectations for technology use. So, how can you avoid the
misguided uses of edtech? Read on to find out.
Technology can’t replace teachers
Technology is awesome, but let’s face it. A computer isn’t as incredible as a teacher. It’s essential to make sure technology stays in the supporting role rather than taking the lead. Teacher-led instruction combined with
edtech products can supplement and strengthen the content, making learning more impactful for students. Just remember that not all students learn best through technology. Mix technology with old-school books and paperwork to reach every student in the class. Many edtech programs include offline activities and resources designed to work together with online lessons.
Don’t play edtech hopscotch
There are lots of incredible products in every content area available for schools. Don’t try to sample all of them. Take the time to survey teachers about their wishes concerning edtech. Invite some educators to take trials with products to test whether they work well for the needs of your student population. Edtech shouldn’t be used to enhance one specific lesson. Consider broader goals for grade levels and standards to find products that positively impact student performance. Then, stick with products long enough for teachers to feel comfortable using them with students. Changing edtech resources every year without proper training can be frustrating for teachers.
Professional development holds the key to success
Implementing edtech in classrooms can’t be done successfully without some kind of professional development. Ideally, this should be taught by experts in the program who are ready to answer questions and share relevant information. Interactive sessions allow teachers to act as students and experiment. But don’t expect professional development to be finished with one meeting. Consistent and
on-demand sessions help teachers understand how to enhance lessons as they learn more about the programs. Make sure to become familiar with all accommodations and modifications that can be made with edtech products.
Behind-the-scenes training for edtech use
Managing tech is difficult for teachers across grade levels. It’s not just the professional development level required to implement programs successfully. Physical management of devices is tricky because kids will be kids. They manage to find ways to get around the rules, such as hiding earbuds behind hair or opening tabs other than assigned ones. Teachers can’t see everything, especially when individual students require attention or substitutes are in the classroom. Make sure guardrails are in place to keep kids where you want them to be on devices. Require students to close screens during instructional time. Preview websites (don’t forget the links) and videos before using with the class. Rethink allowing students to play games when they finish online assignments. Some rush through the work to get to the fun. Remember that all students don’t have access to the internet for homework, so plan accordingly with offline activities that match the learning goals.
There are pros and cons to everything. Overall, edtech in the classroom is a win for everyone involved. Edtech is user-friendly, reinforces student learning, and heightens engagement. There’s a solid return on investment of time and money. Integrating technology properly takes preparation, but this isn’t a dress rehearsal. Put teachers in the lead role with
proven edtech products, and get ready to celebrate a showstopping school year!
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Math and science simulations that excite curiosity and inquiry