Can the traditional classroom be really replaced with edtech?
In teacher conferences, we still hear this question – Is it really possible?
We’d love to say – Yes, it is happening. But, would you really believe it?
Frankly, the temptation of using theories to support the theory of a tech-savvy classroom is always great. So, this time we decided to take an alternate route.
We read through the list of surveys conducted by the Center of Digital Education (CDE), and assembled a list of well-recognized edtech innovations. It’s amazing- it’s a revolution out there.
Districts and schools have developed and implemented a web of technological innovations to modernize their infrastructure. The resulting inclusiveness is awe-inspiring.
Our schools currently use technology to collect data. We have modified the old systems to deliver better instruction, and can ensure purposeful learning. Our schools are, now, better connected with the parents and the community, and everyday improvements have become much easier.
Most of these innovations could be sorted into one of the six categories listed below
Governance and operations
Content and curriculum
Reporting and analysis
Increasing mobility, and
The 3 Edtech innovations that really work
Here, we list the top three innovations that are really, really important for anyone connected with education. Whether, you are an administrator, a principle, a teacher, or a parent, you need to know these.
Digital text books
It’s happening. Several schools have already digitized their text-books. Every year more are doing it. We are effectively moving away from printed text-books, and embracing digital content.
Schools are replacing print-books. They are shifting towards a combination of e-books, podcasts, quiz tools, instructional games, simulations, films, TV programs, YouTube segments, and so on.
Nearly 50% of schools have already completed their 1:1 initiatives, and about 38% more could join them in the next 12-24 months. Once completed, our classrooms are sure to become holistic learning stations.
Parents as partners
Parents were always important. Every involved parent is another engaged student. We already know that. However, including parents has always been a strenuous task. Following is a list of initiatives, already in place, and working fabulously.
A bank of digital literacy programs. Podcast, online courses, mobile applications, etc., meant only for parents.
Web-streaming of meetings to allow parents to participate without being physically present.
Allowing parents to connect online with the principal and the teachers via blogs, social media, discussion boards, forums, and so on.
Digital applications that link students and parents on the same app, with teachers and administrators.
Digital applications that allow parents to review the student report card, and learn how to help their kids with the core skills.
Classrooms without walls
Class-time has long been a major factor limiting student learning. Classroom walls greatly limit students from exploring the topics of their interest.
Classrooms without walls, built around mobile technology has allowed some serious experimentation in this context. Since a couple of years, schools have begun permitting mobile devices in classrooms.
We have mobile apps for instruction, learning and assessments. With high-speed Internet, flipped and blended models are becoming the new classroom norms.
Students have the option of completing courses online, asking for help from multiple teachers, and connecting directly with the source of information.
Another important set of innovations, you should know about, are the automated systems that allow teachers to record and upload classroom experiences. Teacher can save them for future references.
They can use these recordings to review their style of teaching, or use them for collaborative professional learning. Moreover, schools have, also, deploying full time IT coaches to help teachers with technology integration.
These innovations are tough to neglect. True integration of technology is on the way, and if it continues this way, soon we would have our students using all kinds of cutting-edge tools that would assist lifelong learning and inspire creativity.