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Edtech is booming-but does it make better teachers?

Teachers should take a cautious approach to edtech, making sure learning is not dependent on the tech. Here are tools and tips for edtech use in the classroom.

Kids are natural learners, but sometimes schools create an environment where learning does not happen naturally. Many children are struggling with such essential skills like problem-solving, creative thinking and writing, and simple implementation of tablets and ebooks does little to address this problem.

According to the Yale Center of Teaching and Learning research 2017, using technology in the classroom appears to have both bright and dark sides. On one hand, engagement may improve when students have a chance to use Twitter for their classroom and homework activities. On the other hand, unlimited internet exposure may wreak havoc on their motivation and final grade.

Also, using technology in the classroom prepares students for their future lives in technological environment. However, positive shifts are only possible with a cautious approach where students are not dependent on the tech, and when teachers know exactly what to do with edtech tools for education.

The Schools and the Changes

The biggest tech innovations that get launched in the educational sphere belong to the eLearning medium: social networking and collaborative and web-based platforms for studying.

ELearning is not a simple issue of installing a small application on a laptop–it is an important choice; the choice that will determine whether the learning will be effective.

Every technology should be applied reasonably. So how can educators determine if the apps and educational tools applied in the classroom serve the purpose of making education optimal? This is where we need to dig deeper.

(Next page: Edtech tools and tips for teachers that can make a real difference in learning)

How to Improve Your Classroom Management

In order to control the workflow, teachers use LMS (Learning Management System). The idea behind this implementation is to avoid the distraction and misuse of certain apps, sites and tools by the learners. LMS’ help to keep track of what students are doing as their activities are reflected in the system.

Most common LMS’ used by k-12 and higher education are: Canvas, Schoology and Google Classroom. They allow for managing workflow, deadlines and tracking progress. LMS’ will also enable quick communication and collaboration between students and teachers. Many systems also provide the statistics about learning outcomes for educator analysis.

The signs of improvement can be subjectively visible: If the technology works well for the students, the average grade in the class rises as kids get more enthusiastic and active.

In small classes, students tend to have problems with motivation than with discipline. In this case, the task of the teacher is to encourage the collaboration, which is where applying interactive apps and tools will be helpful.

Class 2.0 Tools that Teachers Use

Before adopting any piece of technology to your classroom, it is important to ask yourself:

  • What features of this technology will help improve studying?
  • What are the possible downsides of the new way of studying–and how to avoid them?
  • Will it help to achieve goals, or cover gaps?
  • Will it improve the ease of workflow?

Here is a handful of tools and online apps that are good examples of what to look for in edtech tools, according to purpose:

Edcite – an app that combines interactive questioning (assignment creation) with automatic grading. It saves time on grading and engages students with interactive questions.

Khan Academy – the source of endless educational resources. The SAT and GMAT tests for students teach them to prepare independently and identify their knowledge gaps.

Unicheck –  if cheating is a problem in your class, this tool helps to prevent academic plagiarism. When integrated with the LMS, it optimizes the workflow by automatically checking student submissions.

Discovery education – learning via HD-quality videos, documentaries and 3D tours can improve engagement and improve information retention among students.

Balance is the Key

The ultimate aim of edtech implementation should be to enhance the quality of the operation, and improve engagement levels and participation among students. It is important to balance the visual content with reading, as well as the interactive elements and games with independent thinking and writing, so that students won’t be completely absorbed by all that the internet has to offer.

In the interactive age, teachers have more abilities to turn classes into exciting places for discovery and learning adventures.

However, it should always be done with purpose. The technology that we choose to introduce our kids to today will directly impact the way their classes look tomorrow. Are you ready to start with your classroom?

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