When evaluating whether to use technology in the classroom, educators should ask, “Will this tech benefit my students and me?” The driving factor behind any decision to use technology in the classroom should hinge upon the answer to that question.
For many teachers, tech is a four-letter word. Every year, there are new programs and EdTech companies that bombard educators with information. It is important to keep in mind that one single program is not right for every classroom.
One reason there are so many technology options for schools is that each classroom has students who could benefit from a variety of programs. Each teacher also has different teaching styles that technology could support. For those reasons, the answer to the pivotal question, “Will this technology benefit my classroom?” differs from teacher to teacher.
Reluctance to Add Technology
Recently, Edutopia published a thoughtful piece on A Better Way to Integrate Edtech. The article discusses the reasons why many teachers feel reluctant to integrate digital techniques into their classrooms.
“Digital technology fundamentally threatens the ideal on which educators base their identity: a single expert at the front of the room.”
This change in the traditional structure of the classroom can feel threatening and can even undermine a teacher’s perceived value in the classroom. With so many digital teaching tools available, teachers may be concerned that parents and administrators will underestimate their worth in the classroom.
As we know, technology can never replace teachers. Educators will remain the guiding force in every classroom. Instead, EdTech is meant to serve as an assistant, a tool used to enhance a teacher’s methodology. Tech is not meant to change or reduce a teacher’s value but rather to empower educators to reinforce what they already do well.
Student Engagement Outside of Class
Many teachers choose to use technology in their classrooms. At Walkabouts, we work with many teachers who use our platform to keep students engaged and active during the school day. They also use it to review previously-learned concepts.
If an educator finds a program that will help in the classroom, there are ways administrators can support teachers using technology to make the transition easier.
If a teacher decides not to use technology in the classroom, it may be because technology does not enhance the classroom experience. For example, if a teacher’s interactive small group activities already work well, technology may not be beneficial. Instead, perhaps the teacher should consider utilizing a program to perpetuate the learning outside of the classroom.
In our case, we encourage the use of Walksheets. Some educators use technology outside of the classroom in case of inclement weather or snow days to keep the learning going at home. Others have virtual spaces for students to upload digital material and share their thoughts, ideas, and projects with other students.
While some teachers may decide that technology integration will not benefit their students, they can still use technology to streamline their own processes. EdTech can help keep teachers organized and up-to-date.
Technology can help with grading, time management, communicating with parents and administrators, and lesson planning. If teachers identify the areas where they spend the most time, there is likely a technological solution to help them streamline that process and create a more effective classroom.
As an educator, if you believe that technology can be beneficial for your classroom or can help streamline your processes, here are some tips to learn EdTech quickly and efficiently.