digital learning

5 questions teachers should ask before investing their time and money in edtech

Here's help for selecting the best digital games, books, and learning activities for the classroom

3. Does the mobile application adhere to child safety and online compliance standards?
It’s imperative that teachers choose tools that won’t allow students to take a U-turn onto the internet or inadvertently share personally identifiable information. The federal government and education regulators require educational technology used in the classroom to be compliant with two main laws:

  • Children’s Internet Safety Act (CIPA), which requires that U.S. K–12 schools and libraries use internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content as a condition for federal funding.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires operators of commercial websites, online services, and mobile apps to notify parents and obtain their consent before collecting any personal information on children under the age of 13.

4. Is the digital program easy to access, navigate, and manage?
When choosing edtech for the classroom, make sure it’s easy to use and intuitive for even the youngest students. Children understand how to point, click, tap, and swipe their way through games, books, and puzzles, so choose content that packs an educational punch without a complicated play pattern. It’s also important to look for back-end features that allow you to control what each student can access, as well as track their progress to ensure that they continue to be challenged … while having fun.

5. Does the educational content meet your classroom needs?
Before beginning the search for digital learning content, be clear on how it will be used in the classroom. Some teachers use digital content for free time, others use apps to teach curriculum, and some look for ways to reinforce learning. If you’re clear on the purpose, it will be much easier to find what you need.

As technology continues to evolve, we need to ensure we’re leveraging tools and apps that help them learn and grow. Engaging them, recognizing their current interests, and being smart about the tools we leverage in the classroom will keep us all moving forward with our students.

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