Maslow's hierarchy edtech

5 ways to apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to edtech for better outcomes

As schools look to modernize teaching and personalize learning, a student-centered approach to implementations through Maslow's theory could lead to better outcomes.

2. Communication = Safety Needs

Once deployment needs are met and devices are in the hands of students and teachers, IT must enable basic communication technologies for each device. This includes access to email, Wi-Fi and VPN settings—all without adding unnecessary bloat (add-ons or third-party software).

Beyond basic communications functions, apps must be made available and installed for an additional layer of connectivity. For example, learning management systems (LMS) enable communication beyond classroom walls and empower students with the learning resources they need while at home or in the community.

However, how do we ensure access out of school for those without ubiquitous Internet connections? Limited offline ability does not provide the same experience for all students. Technology that has full functionality offline is a necessity not yet realized for all students.

While basic, being able to mass customize a user’s experience is not omnipresent among technology offerings. Apple’s iOS ecosystem offers the potential for those choosing it to achieve and thrive beyond basic needs. I will stop short of saying you cannot do so with other platforms; however, I would challenge anyone suggesting you can to be very specific in their explanation.

3. Productivity = Love Needs

Communication is simply a stepping-stone for what is possible with technology. Communication that encourages higher-level thinking and problem solving is where dramatic learning happens. Paired with a classroom management app (such as Apple’s Classroom app), teachers are better equipped to facilitate productive learning experiences and maximize the value of precious classroom time.

Apps that go beyond connectivity and help individualize and expand learning must be deployed to students to maximize education. A few that I am partial to include GarageBandSphero Edu and Swift Playgrounds. These programs are a great way to engage students and help them succeed long after they walk out of the classroom doors.

With over 170,000 education apps in the App Store specifically designed for iPad, Apple has the strongest education app ecosystem for students on any grade level, age or learning style.

In addition to a wide variety of education apps, students enjoy a whole new learning experience through interactive iBooks. And, many of the education apps found in the App Store provide a parent’s version available for download – allowing parents to stay more involved with what their students are learning and how they’re progressing. This helps students maintain productivity and foster a lifelong love of learning.

4. Transformation = Esteem and Self-Actualization Needs

For the ultimate learning experience, IT and educators must transform what is possible in education. The most innovative schools are not only investing in iPad devices; they are pairing innovative teaching methods such as blended learning (a mix of technology and traditional learning) or flipped classrooms (teaching is done at home and exercises during class time) with education apps (productivity layer). The results are greater student engagement, addressing the needs of all students and delivering on the goal of academic success.

While this level of thinking may seem like a pipedream or unattainable to some given budget constraints or lack of technology experience, the reality is, there are tools available to help you achieve each layer of Maslow’s hierarchy.

5. Let Mobile Device Management (MDM) Be Your Stepladder

MDM is Apple’s framework for managing iOS. To effectively manage iOS devices and unleash their full potential, schools require an equally powerful MDM solution. From deploying new devices and gathering inventory, to configuring settings, managing apps or wiping data, MDM provides a complete toolset to address large-scale deployments and ensure security.

Plus, it is flexible enough to allow for transcendent learning through the transformative teaching methods we previously discussed.

Pro tip: Rely on MDM tools that fully understand your educational technology ecosystem. If you’ve heeded the advice of many, and chosen Apple as your primary learning tool, you’d be best served by choosing a management tool that’s been with Apple every step of the way and supports new education features the moment they become available.

Maslow was certainly onto something with his hierarchy of needs, and his philosophy provides a good reminder for all of us not to rest on our laurels. There is always another layer to achieve and more ways to help our students and educators succeed.

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