Although education technology (EdTech) was not invented during the pandemic, it saw an incredible upswing as schools needed to accommodate changing times. As schools pivoted to remote learning, educators and students required technology for virtually every aspect of their school day. While some people may have been slow to adjust to these changes or may be unsure how to make the most of them as schools reopen, it has become evident that EdTech has distinct benefits for educators and students in any learning environment.
Now, educational institutions have come to realize the benefits of EdTech within the classroom as well, and this technology will become an even more integral part of learning moving forward. Making EdTech accessible to all students is a growing priority. As such, schools are working with audiovisual integrators to adopt new tools and ensure their EdTech solutions are up to standard.
If you are interested in making the most of EdTech within your educational institution, read on to learn more about why this technology is so necessary and how to best implement it for your students’ success.
What Is EdTech?
The terms "education technology" or "EdTech" refer to processes, software, and hardware used to enhance education.
For educators, the goal of EdTech is to ensure that they can effectively deliver information and boost student engagement. With the support of EdTech, educators can also implement hybrid and fully remote learning models with ease.
For students, EdTech enables learners to better absorb and retain information than through traditional analog teaching methods. Data McKinsey and Company uncovered that students with access to modern technological devices performed better than those without access to high-speed internet and technology.
The EdTech industry is growing exponentially, with a projected growth rate of 20% per year over year until 2028. For instance, grades K-12 have experienced a huge increase in game-based learning that requires EdTech. Experts at the forefront of the sector anticipate further industry growth with a sharp increase in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality technology.
The Benefits of EdTech in the Classroom
Creates an Engaging Learning Experience
Educators understand that engagement is one of the most critical factors in ensuring that students are focused on their learning materials and properly absorbing information. Research from the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education found that student engagement is strongly linked to increased information retention, improved learning outcomes, and greater academic achievements.
Educators may choose to utilize the following technologies for an improved learning experience:
- Interactive displays complete with touchscreen technology allow educators to create an advanced learning experience with ease. Interactive displays may be used to share documents or videos with the class or communicate with students. Classes may also use digital annotation to keep students engaged, giving them the ability to annotate files directly using technology.
- Digital whiteboards allow entire classrooms to collaborate and save their work for the future. This allows for review at a later date or for classes to pick up right where they left off in the next session. Interactive whiteboards empower students to annotate content, share screens, and take notes. Students can also draw and highlight important content.
- Mobile devices such as tablets make it possible for each student to personally interact with lessons. Educators may also encourage students to use mobile devices to work independently or in small groups. Educational technology is advancing with apps and other online learning tools, which educators can implement through mobile devices to ensure a complete learning experience. Mobile devices are excellent platforms for gamification, with apps and software that increases student engagement through storytelling and character development.
Offers Flexibility to Students and Educators
Educators understand that there is no single method of learning that will suit all students. Each student has a unique learning style and thus requires compatible teaching methods that meet their needs. EdTech provides options so educators can accommodate each student's learning level and provide content that is best suited to their specific learning style.
Educators and students both benefit from a flexible classroom that adapts to their needs. Flexible classrooms feature technology that can be used to support many different teaching methods and learning styles. Classrooms that are able to deliver EdTech solutions for differently-abled students, students at various levels, and multiple teaching approaches will provide a higher standard of learning for all involved.
Increases Student Accessibility
While EdTech is an increasingly important element of a well-rounded educational experience, some students do not have the financial resources to obtain their own devices or the means to ensure consistent access to EdTech at home. Therefore, they rely on the educational institution to provide the technology necessary for adequate learning. For instance, the National Center for Education Statistics found that only 61% of school-age children have access to high-speed internet, despite the fact that most students need the internet to complete assignments.
With the assistance of experienced audiovisual integrators, educational institutions can ensure that students have an interactive experience in the classroom that isn't possible at home and can experience the benefits of EdTech no matter their personal situation.
Best Practices for Implementing EdTech
Implement Standardized Solutions in Each Classroom
The benefits of EdTech should not be restricted to particular students. Equitable access to technology can empower all students and educators with an enhanced learning experience. To ensure accessibility, audiovisual integrators can assess the needs of each classroom and implement standardized EdTech solutions across the board.
Do Not Incentivize EdTech
While EdTech can be fun and engaging for students, educators must refrain from incentivizing technology. EdTech is a pivotal tool to improve the student's experience within the classroom and reduce educators' stress. Furthermore, as society becomes increasingly digitized, understanding how to use technology is necessary for students to become effective members of society.
Ultimately, access to EdTech is not optional and thus should not be used as a reward or punishment. Just as educators would not take away a pencil and paper, they should not limit technology as a learning tool.
Include EdTech That Enables Success for Differently-Abled Students
As stated by the National Education Association, special education programs have increased 30% in just ten years. Furthermore, the NEA also says that almost every general education classroom has differently-abled students. EdTech and other audiovisual technologies can help students with alternative learning styles flourish. For example, schools may use sound-field systems at the school for more effective listening, while interactive displays can assist students who struggle with communication.