According to the World Economic Forum , we’re cruising through a new technological revolution (source). The Internet is such a powerful resource that its impact on society is as vast as that of the steam engine back in the 18th century. It is because of advances in online education technology that learning was not entirely halted during the covid-19 pandemic.
Everything every day is handled online, from banking to ordering food. Through the internet, we can even do things previously only dreamed of, like grabbing google maps to find out what the streets of Sri Lanka look like from the comfort of our homes. Online tools have the potential to revolutionize the educational system.
Encouraging teachers to use technology in the classroom has been a hard endeavor on a global scale, especially as it became evident that the classrooms had to move to the Internet because of the pandemic. Teachers in every corner of the world have had to deal with learning how to do their jobs in a completely different way under the pressure of the world collapsing in front of them.
Everyone from parents to politicians have been uneasy about the future of education. Advances in technology, however, have been nothing but useful. Even the least tech-savvy of teachers can use the best technology for the classroom without much trouble, once they gather the confidence to transfer their knowledge in an online form.
What are the benefits of technology in education?
The benefits of technology for teachers and students are numerous. Not only can communication and didactic material be vastly improved with online teaching tools, but the software students use in the classroom will also be very similar to what they’ll encounter in their future careers.
Helping students with their professional development
Cloud-based software applications are not only being implemented in education, they are becoming the standard in many workplaces. The jobs of today are moving away from copy machines and staplers to make way for online meetings and state-of-the-art software solutions. Students learning skills that they will use in their future as professionals have little use for many teaching conventions that were the norm just some years ago.
American professor Donna J. Haraway wrote in her 1985 essay “A Cyborg Manifesto” that through technology the line between man and machine blurs and we can enhance ourselves and our environments, creating new ways to live. The invention of penicillin, the printing press, and even simple things we take for granted like reading glasses could be considered primer examples of professor Haraway’s philosophy.
Just as the invention of glasses allowed whole generations of people to see and better interact with the world around them, assistive technology being developed and engineered today will allow current and future generations to live more productive and fulfilling lives.
Better understand the needs and goals of students
Some parents think their toddlers are geniuses because they can effortlessly use a smartphone to find their favorite games. The geniuses who should be applauded are the software engineers who created interfaces so intuitive even those in early childhood can figure them out. There is no doubt that software is changing how we learn and develop.
Teaching children how to read a sundial might be a wholesome outdoor experience, but it is not preparing them for professional learning or their future careers when they can look at the time on their phones. Right now we’re raising a whole generation of children and teenagers who have seen a considerable portion of their formative years through the soft light of an LCD screen.
Embracing technology allows teachers to better reach the new generations. If teachers get a hold of online software tools and use them to enrich their own experience, they will have a more concrete understanding of what students need to learn.
Communicating and collaborating is made easier
The scholars from the library of Alexandria would envy our phones. They had to roam through long, dimly lit corridors for hours on end looking for a particular piece of parchment that may or may not help their research, while nowadays one can look for “piece of parchment” on Google and get 21,600,000 results in 0.52 seconds. If for some reason your phone burns up, the information will not be gone with it, as it stays safe on the Internet.
Transmitting information and communicating remotely is easier than ever. For example, Studyo’s school planner creates a high-engagement learning environment with an intuitive user interface. Teachers, coaches, and any kind of instructor can track progress and stay organized, without the need of learning to code or using complicated tools.
Students benefit by having their assignments and exam dates from all sources highlighted in their schedule, and the software incentivizes them to stay focused and to keep healthy studying habits. Tasks can be broken down into smaller steps, so it’s easier for students to stay on track and not be intimidated by big projects.
6 ways to get teachers to embrace technology
1. Taking the technological bull by the horns
It is normal for you or a colleague of yours to get anxious about using online teaching tools in the classroom. After all, many teachers have spent most of their careers dictating classes in front of blackboards and have always seen lesson plans as physical documents to carry around. Current leaps in technology are sometimes too daunting for even young folks to handle, so it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when learning to use a new app.
First and foremost, let them, or yourself, know that computers don’t bite. We must learn to walk before we can run, and it is okay to start slow. The best technology for the classroom has been built with ease of use in mind, making it very simple for first-timers to dive in and start dictating classes like their mouse was made of chalk.
Teachers don’t need to fear any new complicated tools with Studyo’s school planner. Students can send their work straight to the platform to be reviewed. Classwork can be immediately opened via Google Classroom or your school’s preferred LMS solution, while teachers can focus on their most important task: teaching.
2. Let the students become the teachers
Even though education technology may be a new phenomenon for many teachers, younger people are more tech-savvy and the software may resemble applications they use in their daily lives to chat with their peers or handle other activities. While you may prefer to sit with your friends and drink coffee together, kids these days are joining online lobbies and interacting with their friends online all the time.
It is easier to learn new skills when one is young. The brain during childhood is much more malleable, and therefore children can adapt to recently introduced technology much faster than most adults. If there is something a teacher doesn’t know, asking students how to better use the software might be the best approach. Teacher-student collaboration is key to reaping the benefits technology can bring to the educational system.
Let this be a lesson to your students about how previous generations have had to adapt to changing technologies. It is possible that in the near future they may be the ones having trouble learning how the latest gadgets and applications work.
3. Compare notes with your colleagues
A fool is not someone who doesn’t know. A fool is someone who doesn’t ask questions. Some of your colleagues may be more knowledgeable about computers than you, and through their input, you may better understand education technology. There’s always a technology aficionado who already knows all the ins and outs of any piece of tech they touch, and in case there’s not, it is always better to learn together.
On the other hand, maybe you know a trick or two one of your peers completely ignores. By showing them the ropes you will be helping the professional development of not just yourself but also your whole learning community. A better understanding of online classroom software benefits not only the teachers but also the students, as their engagement is less often disrupted by the occasional troubleshooting.
Make sure not to keep feedback just to yourself. All points of view, positive or negative, should be taken into consideration by you and your colleagues, as they represent avenues to grow and further improve the learning ecosystem. There may be issues you have noticed that no one else has, and by pointing them out you might be helping everyone out in the long run.
5. Turn off the computer for a while
No, it’s not reverse psychology. Not only does directing your attention away from education technology from time to time help you recharge your mental batteries, it will also give your students a breather from their digital lives and let them better handle activities related to memorization, social involvement, and out-of-the-box thinking.
It is a pity that due to the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic students have lost the chance to intermingle and learn face-to-face in a classroom environment. If restrictions in your area are being lifted consider the possibility of including outdoor activities or other events to engage with students and supplement their online classes. This is called blended learning and may be the future of schools and professional learning.
Blended learning takes elements from traditional education and blends them with software tools, encouraging teachers to use technology in the classroom. By taking advantage of recent advances in education technology once the pandemic has been dealt with, we can create a more engaging and efficient educational system.
4. Ponder on the benefits of technology to teachers
Say goodbye to those chalk stains on the edge of your sleeves and sitting in traffic during your daily commute and say hello to not having to wear shoes to work. When teaching online, you have more leeway on how you handle your personal space. Maybe light a scented candle and have your favorite soft drink at hand to warm yourself up to your new environment.
This is, however, not just fun and games. Several practical benefits come along with teachers embracing technology. By using online tools, teachers can have an overview of how students are doing, giving them insights into what aspects of the classroom experience may be improved.
Information can be customized and easily updated, so everyone knows what school events will happen and when. No longer will homework get eaten by the family dog. The accountability and progress of everyone can be kept in check and reviewed at a moment’s notice.
6. Use the best technology for the classroom
Studyo’s school planner provides both teachers and students with all the tools they need to simplify the classroom experience and make online learning a much more engaging experience. Everyone is kept on the same page with centrally managed timetables that can be customized to add special dates and bell times. Students can better learn self-management by interacting with their tasks in a friendly and simple user interface.
This cloud-based software tool can easily be accessed via the user’s e-mail or their Apple, Microsoft, or Google accounts, giving everyone access through their preferred devices. Book a demo and discover why student engagement can rise from 15% to 90% in the span of 4 to 6 weeks.