How the next generation of edtech empowers teachers
The edtech industry has rapidly grown in recent years, with tech giants, start-ups, and everything in between embracing educational initiatives. A simple analysis of the market’s growth reflects an emphasis on education reform Craig Scott, VP of technology at ViewSonic, explains how the most effective edtech resource is one which empowers teachers…
Teachers shouldn’t have to learn tech to teach, and the next generation of EdTech is on a mission to provide holistic solutions to educators through interoperability, streamlined communication, and improved user experience (UX). However, greater consideration reveals that the EdTech market is at a crossroads that straddles commercially-driven oversaturation, and altruistic educational goals.
When it comes to EdTech, I say without hesitation, the most effective resource you can have is an empowered teacher. However, through little fault of their own, teachers often lack the confidence to teach using tech. Many have either been insufficiently trained on specific resources, limiting them experiencing the full benefits of its functionality and capabilities, or simply don’t have the confidence to use the technology that appears in their classrooms overnight, much less how to teach it to students. As a result, the decisions they make about using it in their classroom often fail to make any real impact on teaching or learning.
For technology to be embraced and adopted by teachers, it needs to be holistic, reliable, streamlined, easy-to-use and simple to implement; from experience, this is exactly what the next generation of edtech providers is determined to provide to educators.
When fully understood and used correctly, audio-visual (AV) systems such as digital whiteboards, interactive screens with multi-touch functionality and tablets for example, have the potential to create a wholly immersive and engaging learning environment. Through the use of digital whiteboards alone, teachers are able to display rich content and dynamic example, making their lessons more effective, engaging and creative.
And as teachers become more confident with these types of technology, they can encourage students to interact with activities and tasks relating to the lesson – be that through full-colour images, detailed diagrams, or even video content, helping to encourage active learning, all the while promoting a more inclusive environment.
We have to remember that today’s students are digital natives; they gravitate towards technology and use it with ease. Being able to use technology to bring concepts to life in a visual way, either through images or video, can really improve their classroom experience, and in turn, significantly increase their level of engagement.
Active learning is also a good way to bring students together, regardless of their abilities or skills. Traditionally, students are put in pairs or small groups and asked to work around one computer or several books. However, the challenge here is that one student tends to take the lead, leaving the others to sit either side, meaning they often lose interest or switch off. Introducing effective edtech resources means teachers are able to simply and easily set tasks and get groups working on the same board at the same time, giving each member more of an active role, and equal responsibility.
The quality of the work carried out by students is also improved as teachers become more confident introducing new technologies to set homework and incorporating it into projects.
When edtech empowers teachers, it empowers each and every student sitting in front of those teachers – the edtech leaders of tomorrow. Surely, this should be the ultimate aim of all edtech providers? It certainly is for ViewSonic.