Why we still need EdTech, even when we head back to the classroom.
Our encounters with COVID-19 have been a rollercoaster, yet luckily, schools across Philadelphia were able to resume in-person learning earlier this school year. However, this return was sometimes short-lived, especially now as the newest variant spreads through the region. Per the Horace Mann Educators Corporation, the remote setups so many schools and families adopted in 2020 simply cannot compare to face-to-face classes when it comes to academic learning. With that said, the pandemic has also spurred a slew of innovations in educational technology (EdTech), and those innovations' utility goes far beyond virtual learning. In fact, some of these devices and platforms can even be used to enhance the traditional, in-person learning experience. Here's why.
It makes learning more personal and engaging
It's no secret that each student learns differently - that is a core principle of our school philosophy. Some students learn best visually, some by listening, and all benefit from hands-on experiences. However, traditional learning methods don’t usually take these differences into account. Fortunately, various digital tools available today can help to enhance the progressive learning experience — which, as we've discussed in previous posts here at Quadrat Academy, aims to make knowledge more engaging and accessible for all learners. For example, digital whiteboard Explain Everything lets teachers embellish their traditional slides with everything from animations to audio clips with just a few clicks. Meanwhile, hands-on learners are sure to love Minecraft Education Edition. Through this program, students can explore the interiors of a beehive and even investigate shipwrecks to determine how they ended up on the ocean floor. These are just a few examples, but they do convey that EdTech is also helpful in providing education suited to different student preferences and predispositions.
It makes learning more effective
The best part about EdTech is that it offers various benefits for educators. Platforms like ReadWriteThink and LearnZillion provide a vast array of free resources that teachers can use to formulate lesson plans. Automated tools like ThinkWave can even streamline the grading process, making it easier to devote more time and energy to actual lesson delivery. EdTech also helps educators and even entire schools and school systems measure how effectively students are learning. The Floop web app helps teachers provide targeted instruction to students by allowing those students to anonymously report which parts of a lesson they're having difficulties with. Meanwhile, New Globe has a digital learning platform that lets educators quantify students' learning progress in real-time. By leveraging data analytics in the classroom, teachers and schools can accurately determine when and how to adjust lesson plans and/or teaching methods.
It helps develop soft skills
Another reason EdTech is so good in the physical classroom is that most of today's students are digital natives. As such, integrating tech in learning only encourages them to interact in the classroom more. And since most technology requires users to be hands-on, it helps students focus more on the practical application of lessons — not the rote memorization of theoretical knowledge promoted by traditional learning models. Tech-driven emphasis on experiential learning can effectively add depth to students' education. For example, apps like Padlet emulate social media's "virtual wall" layout, allowing students to improve their communication and collaboration skills by posting discussion questions, working on assignments in groups, and even connecting with students from all over the globe. Various time management apps like Focus Booster and Remember The Milk can even help students improve time management with scheduling and reminder functions. By doing so, EdTech arms students with vital skills needed in adulthood. With all of these points considered, it's clear that EdTech is invaluable in improving learning outcomes. And with TechCrunch reporting that the majority of American educators believe in its benefits, it's high time all educators consider bringing the Digital Age into the classroom!