Education technology, or Ed Tech as it’s more commonly called, is the latest buzzword in schools and colleges.
Optimists and fervent supporters of new technologies find Ed Tech to be our ticket to “Edutopia,” learning environments that promote learning through seamless interactive learning while also staying primarily tech-focused. Skeptics, on the other hand, find Ed Tech’s adaptation in the classroom a complex, time-consuming, and often unfeasible process, especially as teachers resist change and the new ways of conducting their classes.
While many schools have made significant advances, blending traditional learning with new technologies to facilitate each student’s education, others are still merely dabbling with educational technology. Teachers make a few timid attempts to test the waters, perhaps with a tablet or two in the classroom, setting up a virtual class network for student collaboration, or assigning projects via the cloud. Although these are all fundamental Ed Tech tools, alone, they can only do so much. More thorough and strategic implementation is needed to make the most of what Ed Tech has to offer.
It will take time before education is overhauled, before we leverage new ways to learn new things. For the time being, the majority of educators and schools can focus on how they might introduce a technology or two in the classroom and use that technology to save time, or make learning a bit more interactive.
Learning in a technology-based environment
For Ed Tech to actually facilitate and promote better learning opportunities for students, we need imaginative and open-minded ways of learning.
Simply using the cloud to pass around handouts and emailing students about the due date of their mid-term paper is not what one would call a high-tech oriented classroom. A more involved and engaged approach to technology must be in place in order for both students and teachers to experience the tremendous benefits of tech-enabled learning.
Virtual systems, for instance, enable teachers to not just lecture about a theory, principle, or event, but to also show the students related information through informative graphs and interactive presentations.
Technology is the interactive, visually appealing medium through which learning becomes more appealing and more effective.
Getting serious about Ed Tech
Collaboration and creativity are amplified if teachers and students use the right tools. When a class focuses on the students’ needs and is tailored to their learning goals, it instantly makes learning truly personalized. This is something that is often hampered by insufficient school budgets which make it impossible to have one computer for each student. What is more, the reluctance of instructors who fear technology sometimes disrupts the learning process. This distracts students and is counterproductive to their education, and is another obstacle to overcome when planning for the incorporation of Ed Tech in a school environment.
We see every day the contradictory, almost ironic cases where teachers attempt to integrate technology in the classroom only to self-sabotage this effort by blocking messaging, emailing, and access to social networks and frequently visited websites.
This shows that we’re still not all ready to learn new things in new ways. We’re still stuck in learning old things, even though we’re using a somewhat improved approach.
Before Ed Tech technology makes its way to the classroom and stays their once and for all, educators need relevant, comprehensive training and development in how to use technology for their students’ benefit.
On the other hand, digital natives need to play their part, helping their instructors understand the new uses of technology and the alternative options for learning. Together, we can make learning a rewarding, pleasant experience for everyone involved.
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