In the twenty-first century it’s rare to find an industry that hasn’t undergone a digital transformation of some sort, and education is no different.
The classrooms of today have moved far beyond the early 1990s integrations of computer rooms, full of clunky desktops, loud keyboards and dial up tones. Nowadays the classroom itself is littered with tablets and slim desktop computers that fit around the edges of the room, as well as cameras or apps that record lessons or take notes for absent students.
Edtech has transformed the classroom, and on average the 10 uses of ICT in every class are enhancing the way that children learn.
So if you’re a headmaster or school board considering integrating ICT into the classroom, we give you an overview of why it’s so important.
What is Edtech?
Edtech is simply the acronym for educational technology. Educational technology itself refers to the practice of introducing ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) tools into the classroom in order to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences.
ICT has always played a role in the school curriculum, having featured in its most early stages. However the new advancements made in technology are having a fundamental impact on teachers, students and all levels of school staff.
Edtech tools are, for example, making it easier for teachers to create individualised lesson plans by assigning different tasks to different students via an individual tablet or learning portal in conjunction with their abilities. This creates a much more interactive and inclusive classroom, because students are able to learn at their own pace.
What are examples of educational technology?
Outside of being able to foster more inclusive learning environments which make for more engaged and happier students, other examples of educational technology in action include:
- Blogging and social networking: Blogs are now being used by teachers to provide students with commentary on topics or themes relating to their studies, encourage creative writing projects, offer student and teacher reflections, and even spark class or school discussions. Social Networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter are also being directly integrated with the blog to encourage further interaction with other schools, students or parents.
- Planning tools: Calendar and task manager tools can aid in scheduling exams, revision sessions and creating workflows or revision routines.
- Cloud data storage: Cloud computing allows for collaborative working and the safe and accessible storage of documents and data, crucial to students and teachers.
- Digital whiteboards and interactive tablets: Digital whiteboards project images or slides from a computer and allow for live time annotations. Tablets allow students to access documents from the cloud, complete projects, and send emails to teachers.
What are the 10 uses of ICT in education?
The 10 uses of ICT in education which are seen as the most important are following:
- Better Collaboration
Cloud computing tools and equipment are promoting better collaboration in the classroom between students and teachers. Tablets which come pre-installed with learning games, online lessons and access to eportals give students tools to solve problems together – whether in the classroom or at home. Cloud based apps meanwhile allow students to upload their homework, download learning resources and share thought processes or ideas from wherever they are.
- Remote access to learning
Internet of Things devices are making education more accessible for students, whether they are in a classroom or virtual environment. WiFi and cloud access means that wherever they are students are able to log on and complete work at their own pace. Plus tablets and other smart devices minimise the amount of textbooks and papers that students are carrying around, making it easier to work on the go.
- Virtual classrooms
Edtech tools are now allowing the classroom to exist outside of the school building. In the past learning has been confined to students listening to lectures or undertaking reading in the classroom and then working autonomously from home. Nowadays edtech tools like learning apps and cameras that record lectures mean that students can watch lessons from home and make use of time in class to collaborate. This changing learning style can promote self-learning, leave room for creativity and create a sense of teamwork among students through collaboration.
- Personalised learning
Educational technology has given opportunities for teachers to create personalised lesson plans and tasks depending on the needs and abilities of their students. A customised learning experience promotes strengths, skills and interests and holds a student’s engagement much better, and for longer, than other traditional teaching methods.
Video content tools that record lectures enable students to rewind lessons so that they understand, and analytics based around these videos are able to alert teachers to students who may not be grasping concepts as well as their peers. This enhances a students learning by teachers being able to stage 1:1 intervention or catch up sessions, or alternatively give the student more time to learn and focus on the subject.
- Engaging lessons
Stoic, yawn-inducing lessons are long gone now with the use of interactive equipment, learning games and learning portals. Examples of innovative Edtech advancements have included teachers interacting with other classrooms around the globe or across the country through video link, introducing creative ways for students to submit homework assignments, for example as videos or podcasts, and even introducing complex problem-solving through minigames.
- Enhanced creativity and interactivity
Edtech tools stimulate the imagination because the interactivity elements found in elearning portals, games and in other interactive IoT objects like interactive whiteboards promote the participatory attitude of a student. The participatory attitude is involved in the learning process and can be utilised when being positioned as a protagonist.
- Time saving automation
Artificial intelligence Edtech tools are helping teachers to automate grading, removing some of the time-consuming legwork of teaching. The apps utilise machine learning algorithms to analyse and assess answers which are based upon specific guidelines in the assignments.
Giving teachers back some of their time gives them more flexibility for lesson preparation, allows them to experiment with creativity, and gives them ample opportunities for one-on-one tutoring sessions with gifted or struggling students.
- Better classroom management
Let’s admit it, sometimes it would be easier to herd sheep than get children in a group to do something. Thankfully, Edtech is lending assistance to this task too. New tools include apps that monitor classroom noise levels and then emit warnings or alerts on behalf of the teacher, as well as apps that send reminders to students or parents about projects or homework assignments if the app detects that the project or assignment has not been accessed or completed by the student.
This extra pair of hands leaves more room for teachers to get on with what they do best — teaching — whilst everything else is less chaotically managed around them.
- Paperless classrooms
Saving the environment is big on everyone’s minds in the twenty-first century, and education has its role to play. Trees are wasted each year due to being cut down to provide paper and to make textbooks which are looked at once a term and then never again.
Digital classrooms prevent all that. They cut down on needless deforestation, and provide a much more efficient way for students to work and teachers to grade. There’s also less paperwork to lock up, store, and file — making accessing particular resources or documents a breeze when coupled with cloud computing technologies.
- Easier student assessment
In the past, teachers have spent endless hours attempting to guess the skills or areas of improvement of a student. Edtech is taking manual labour and non-accuracy out of that, too. New tools which are based upon datasets constantly assess and analyse a students skills, suggest needs, and relay that data in a handy report to the teacher.
Often teachers cannot identify harmful studying trends, but some e-learning platforms that use real-time data can show a teacher how a student is learning outside of the classroom, once again providing proactive opportunities for swift intervention and improvement.
Apps that measure the overall aptitude of students also make a teacher’s lesson planning much smoother when they can craft specialised plans and tasks in accordance to a students strengths and weaknesses, or even attempt to put in a framework to negate negative learning outcomes.
Need help with educational technology?
At Binary Blue we are able to provide schools with IT support services. Whether you just need ongoing support to prevent downtime, or you want a full Edtech overhaul of your setup to make use of new tools, we have the skills you need and a package to suit.
Our team of experts will audit your existing setup, suggest a new infrastructure and then source and install any new equipment or tools you require. We can even provide training to staff to ensure that everyone is up to date and able to use your new Edtech tools as required. For more information, get in touch with us today.