Bringing educational technology (EdTech) into your teaching methodology will ensure you create a conducive environment for growth and development of students in your classroom.

Educational technology has become one of the most important forms of learning, due to the variety in opportunity it offers. Students can learn in ways that suit them better; studying where they want to, when they prefer and using the modalities of learning that suits them best.

We live in a time where children are extremely focussed on content and there’s a myriad of sources and entertaining education content out there to make the process of learning a fun and engaging one. Just a quick google search will bring up hundreds of ed tech resources, but we've made it easier for you by including examples of tech solutions we think educators could find most useful.

If used in a smart, integrative and intuitive way, the application of new educational technology and tools can make learning easier for the student, teacher and parent. Educational technology allows all parties to benefit from a more measured approach to learning and the tools used can allow learners to learn at a pace they find comfortable while easily accessing other topics of interest.

Technology can also create up to 1.2million jobs and opportunities for the new generations according to a recent KcKinsey paper, but the education sector will have to significantly increase exposure and impart tech skills to get our educators and students on par with the rest of the world.

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Three Different Types of Educational Technology

Knowing the three different groups or types of education technologies will help a teacher determine the best educational technology suited for their learning objectives and goals. We’ll explain the three different groups in education technology before giving you some of the best Ed Tech tools to use in your classroom.

Synchronous or Asynchronous Learning

Synchronous learning allows students to all be online at the same time and learn at the same time. Face-to-face discussions, online learning or distance learning are all practical and feasible options and using technologies like Skype, chat rooms, virtual classrooms and live teaching a student can still benefit from active participation and interaction.

Asynchronous learning is where learning doesn’t happen ‘live’ or real-time. Students learn from existing online resources like blogs, video courses, digital textbooks etc. This application of technology support learning by allowing students to study at their own pace, taking their time to grasp new concepts and reviewing or researching further topics related to it.

Linear Learning (Computer Based Training)

In schools this example of educational technology is where information or learning modules and instruction is pushed to the student’s tablet, smartphone or computer. It mimics classroom-based training, is linear in process and usually it is more of a pricey process to create these as they need to be supported by multifunctional software programmes. Unfortunately this type of training lacks interaction between student and teacher, but it could be very useful for teaching step-by-step subjects like mathematics or computer programming.

Collaborative Learning

As the name implies, this is where students work together but they use online tools, research online and event connect online to problem-solve and complete group assignments.  Online collaborative learning is a great way to get students working together, develop their research skills and allow them to build social skills with other learners.

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The interactive whiteboard is an incredible tool for delivering information in an engaging way

Interactive Whiteboard – Modernising the Black Board

Whiteboards and blackboards were in classrooms and offices long before technology came along. Interactive whiteboards is their digital format that enhances teaching in the real world with the magic of technology. Innovative touch screen technology allows the teacher to engage students on a deeper level by using multimedia content like videos and articles.

Using technology in this way can open up a whole new world around the topic taught and the Interactive Whiteboard provides a variety of ways to keep them engaged. During a teaching session teachers can show related data, content and media that are online and related to the topic. Online interactive exercises can encourage participation and while you consult the help of google, YouTube and thousands of interactive maps around any topic, you also provide them with instruction and experience around how tech is used for research.

The bigger screen also allows everyone to essentially share the same computer screen and it is the perfect solution if you want the class to do an assignment around a specific article. You can also make learning sessions more exiting by bringing entertaining and relevant content pieces into the usually longer information sessions, breaking it up and making it more fun.

The way it’s introduced into your classroom and used is fundamental to the success of new technology. Read this article to learn more about integrating technology into your classroom.

ClassDojo – Using Content to Connect Learners and Teachers

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ClassDojo incentivises good behaviour and hard work in the classroom.
ClassDojo is a free app that connect teachers and students by using a feed of images, videos and messaging. It is ideal to disseminate learning information, classwork and lessons to each student and incredibly useful for those who are adopting the very popular hybrid schooling method or transitioning from in-classroom schooling to remote, online schooling.

The platform is also not exclusive to the student and the teacher and the parent has visibility and the opportunity to review and comment in the same way.

One of the greatest benefits is how the system allows the teacher to set-up a merit or demerit system where the students get points for their positive behaviour. The point system can be linked to timely completion of assignments and allows student and parent to see the progress being made in the classroom.

Reward and punishment helps with the forming of discipline and by allowing students to participate in the formulation of a disciplinary system might ensure greater buy-in and enforcement. Punishment can be a letter to the students’ parents or a trip to the headmaster’s office while rewards can be access to a new movie, students picking their seats in class or something the class all agree on in the beginning of the term.

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Turnitin – Checking for Content Integrity

More and more students have to do homework and hand it in remotely. They do a lot of research online and it is almost impossible for a teacher to know all the information online or whether the content has been plagiarised. Turnitin was created to check the students work and sniff out copied content, making use of a massive database of websites, books, online content and other students’ work.

It is convenient to the teacher as this educational tool does all the work the moment the student uploads their assignment.  The similarity report will give teachers the option to review the work personally and /or take the required course of action if needed.

Edmodo – Encouraging Independent Learning

If you are looking for an online educational tool that prepares students for higher education, Edmodo is ideal. This edtech solution allows teachers to share learning materials and distribute assignments. It brings classrooms into a digital space while allowing students the responsibility to approach their learning independently. Ideal for distance learning this tool allows students to continue their learning, even if they aren’t able to attend school for whatever reason.

Edmodo also created a dedicated parents section allowing the monitoring of children’s progress and studies without hampering the student’s independence. Parents have a clear idea of what their child is working on and the connection between teacher and student is enhanced so that learning objectives can be met.

Labster – Creating virtual Science Labs

Labster is an innovative solution to make science studies more virtual, allowing students to safely do their experiments at home or school without the risks.

Microscopes
Labster has students conduct their own experiments in a virtual science lab

With practical and high quality video demonstration, their software gives the student a realistic outlook of how science works and the outcomes of experimentation. They also make use of game based learning where the student is encouraged to participate with enthusiasm in a subject that could sometimes we perceived as bland.

Kahoot! – Game Based Learning for All

Easily accessible through the app or a web browser this game-based learning platform has over a billion players of all ages from across the globe. They have games for all subjects, in most languages and its suited to all devices.

Kahoot!’s objective was to make learning more fun. With easy to use features this app remains popular under educators, students, in and outside the classroom. Teachers can create unique games with a multiple choice approach to give students the opportunity to learn in a new and exciting way.

Using Technology to Create a Smarter Generation

It should be clear how technology allows us to expand our possibilities in how we teach and prepare students for the future. More and more the research points out how software and tech can support learning if applied in a way that engages students.

Some students have a natural affinity to technology due to their involvement in social media and other tech solutions they use on a daily basis. These students will probably venture into digital fields and concepts like blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and analytics will come easier to them than the older generations.

As an Edtech teacher you can ensure you set your students up for a bright digital future because let’s face it, the world is getting more digital in nature and it is almost impossible to imagine any career without the influence of technology.

The most important question is to assess whether the technology you plan to use, enhances or complicates the process to the benefit of all parties involved?

With thousands of EdTech applications and products on the market we’re almost certain you’ll find the solutions to help you solve a teaching problem or approach learning in new and exciting ways.

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Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.