Technology has been an essential addition to school life for at least the past two decades and during COVID-19, the meaning and application of remote learning changed beyond all recognition. However, in primary classes and in the case of younger students, it can be a challenge to not only utilize the right technological interventions but also to get the maximum benefit out of them. Here are some tips on implementing new technology in school as a teacher, educator or administrator.
1. The Educator Must Be Well-Versed
Use of any software or technological intervention depends largely upon how skilled and familiar the teacher or educator is themselves with the device, software or program. For this reason it is absolutely necessary that the school should fund proper training initiatives before launching the technology for students.
This will not only ensure that the technology is being used properly with all that it has to offer but that the educator is also comfortable and there is no time lag between lessons, assignments or term projects. Having a practice period or pilot testing especially if an edtech software for example is ambiguous regarding ideal age groups can be helpful in ensuring the technological initiative is just right for the students and the grade level it is being used for.
2. Not An Alternative
No edtech initiative should ever be considered an alternative for a devoted and skilled teacher’s presence and teaching style. If the technology is being used to bridge a gap between the educator and his/her students it will be faulty and ineffective from the start and there is a need to deeply evaluate other extraneous factors. At the most implementing new technology in school should supplement a skilled educator’s learning environment and help them manage academic tasks more efficiently so they can better cater to their student’s individual needs. As far as emotional intelligence theories go, every student has different strengths and a different aptitude and edtech can free up time and space for a teacher to better evaluate and fine tune those strengths in individual students for the best results.
Edtech needs to be chosen carefully and at the same time it needs to cater to a range of teaching methods and individual student needs. When a school or any other educational institution invests in edtech they need to explain their investment as well as have it hold up during the school year. Niche or specific edtech can be useful under a certain school program such as for students who have English as a second language but in general it needs to be an all-encompassing venture that has many possible beneficial applications.
The application of an edtech program needs to be evaluated in the light of remote learning or less than typical learning environments. It is vital that students that have special needs or particular obligations and cannot access classes at their location or at fixed times can still benefit from lessons and directions in a virtual classroom.
4. The Technology Should Be Exclusively Edtech
Technology used generally can sometimes be counterproductive such as students getting addicted to toxic online games or recreational browsing. The aim of implementing new technology in school should be clear as well as entirely education-oriented so it can have the maximum benefit. While technology such as laminators for schools are needed to help students improve their learning materials, edtech should aim to enhance skills and retention as well as capability.
Many types of software that optimize school management for example may be poorly equipped for academic learning and use so evaluating beforehand the exact purpose and application of the technological initiative is very important. When investing in edtech, ensure it is age-appropriate and a good match for the learning level you are targeting.
5. Games And Virtual Reality
Video games, movies and animation and so forth are of paramount importance in the life of the average child or teenager. With technology having an ever-growing role in education, it is no wonder that educational games and virtual reality learning (such as taking virtual field trips or reenactments of historical battles or principles of science) are becoming preferred tools for educators to improve learning and retention amongst students of younger ages. Games online like iThrive and similar platforms use simulation and VR technology to create scenarios and gauge adequate problem solving and critical thinking skills as well as reinforce concepts of various subjects.
The sheer variety of available games online means that educators have endless opportunities to engage students and have a very welcome response as all children love video games. Role-playing or case study related simulation games in particular teach children how to think and react in certain situations and how to practically apply what they have learned as a theoretical concept in class.
6. Video/Visual Aids
The colors, graphics and movement of visual learning aids such as videos, animated clips or interactive media are very powerful for younger learners as they stimulate the imagination and also aid recall in standardized testing later on. Many younger students particularly those that have special needs and also regular children have an easier time watching a video clip and doing an educational activity than learning written texts. The edtech used can have both elements to appeal to a variety of different aptitudes.
Easy-to-use tools have popped up within the realm of edtech so children and teenagers can even carry out basic video editing to communicate their ideas and concepts when they are given a project by their teacher. Collaborative tools have the same effect in building a sense of networking and common ground and allowing children’s social skills to grow. Even if some children are studying from home, there is greater ease with the right edtech to communicate with their teachers and voice their concerns or ask questions as well as for teachers to give feedback easily or keep parents involved in their child’s progress. On a limited scale social media can be incorporated into this interactive space between children, parents and teachers.