What types of educational technology fit your teachers?

by Trifon Tsvetkov

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Educational technology can be defined as the use of both hardware and software to facilitate the processes of teaching and learning as well as improve performance.

Over the centuries, people have invented different ways of recording and sharing knowledge. From the first use of pencil and paper to radio broadcasts, and followed by televised education broadcasts. Today, the educational technology landscape has changed a great deal. All thanks to the invention of computers and the internet. 

Who would have thought social media would be instrumental in education? What about virtual reality creating virtual classrooms? Teachers can also augment learning using audio and visual technology. Many are now replacing traditional blackboards with interactive whiteboards. 

These are the different types of educational technology educators can adopt to enhance teaching and learning. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Table Of Contents

1. Educational Technology Software
2. Social Media Technology
3. Audio And Visual Technology
4. Virtual Classrooms
5. Whiteboards
6. Mobile Technology, Computers, And Tablets
How To Select Educational Technology For Your Teachers

1. Educational Technology Software

This technology refers to software applications created to aid in the teaching process. Different software is also available for enhancing students’ learning.

There are many tech companies today producing new software like never before. Teachers have no shortage of applications to pick from. With all the options available, it can be quite a task to choose what is necessary and relevant.

Classifying software may help identify what best fits the specific needs of a given classroom.

Courseware is software that provides instructional content, tutorials or teachers’ kits.

Courseware may as well form the basis for other teaching software as it gives the general outline for a subject or an entire course.

Assessing and grading students can be rather time-consuming for instructors. Assessment software can handle a big part of this process.

The software provides quizzes, records the learner’s answers, and scores the results. Teachers can then track the students’ performance. Based on this, instructors can plan on how to progress with teaching and what areas to put more emphasis on.

These are apps that provide access to knowledge bases. They are now mostly overtaken by online reference sources. Websites like Wikipedia, online dictionaries, and journals are a quick source of information. Reference software may therefore not be a big need for the modern classroom.

Modern-day classroom aids can make teaching and learning diversified, engaging, and collaborative. Videos, virtual reality devices, whiteboards etc are some of the aids we’ll look at in more detail below.

2. Social Media Technology

According to Statistathe average internet user spends more than two hours on social media per day. For young people, this amount of time is even longer based on data by GlobalWebIndex.

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Social media is influencing how most people, especially teenagers, live and make decisions. There’s hardly a chance that young people can let go of social media platforms. As a result, teachers have come up with ways of using it in education.

Social media is now a type of educational technology incorporated in and out of classrooms. Here are a few examples of such platforms used as learning tools:

As an educational technology, social media may cultivate skills that boost students’ learning capacity. These include critical thinking when engaging in discussions with peers. Self-directed learning can also be encouraged whereby learners have to look for information on their own.

Without forgetting, one of the main advantages of social media is increased communication. Learners can communicate with classmates or teachers at any time and in any place. This can create opportunities for instructors to guide their students even when out of class.

Teachers can also keep parents up to date on school happenings. They can post photos and videos of school events and classroom activities.

In all these, social media platforms can, unfortunately, present many distractions. But if used with intention, this technology can reinforce many traditional learning methods.

3. Audio And Visual Technology

Audio and visual technology can provide a stimulating learning environment for students of all ages.

Webcasts and podcasts are examples of audio media used to access lessons. This can be particularly helpful with visually-impaired students.

The almost obsolete VHS tapes were once used for video lessons. Today, instructors can use digital videos on the internet as teaching aids. Platforms like YouTube provide easy access to an assortment of educative videos.

Innovations like webcams can allow for the participation of remotely located class members, making the learning process synchronous. Since sessions can be recorded, learners can playback videos later on and review areas they didn't quite understand. This means visual technology can also provide a self-paced learning model.

Screencasting is another form of educational technology that makes use of audio and visual technology. It allows instructors to share their computer screens and give real-time instructions. Screencasting can serve as an excellent revision tool. Like other videos, it can be recorded and viewed later by students during revision.

4. Virtual Classrooms

Virtual classrooms allow students to take part in class even when absent from school. There’s real-time interaction between teachers and students, thereby mimicking a traditional classroom.

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This is an example of synchronous learning. This is whereby all participants interact and contribute to the lesson in real-time.

Virtual classrooms combine several technologies and tools. By including webcams or video conferencing, participants can see each other. Students can put their hands up to ask and answer questions.  Learners can receive instructions from their teachers and get instant feedback.

This technology isn’t only dependent on video. Virtual classrooms can use live chat messaging. This type of educational technology may be suitable for smaller sized class numbers.

With virtual classrooms, instructors can trigger a high level of engagement and collaboration. Participants commit to being present for a particular time. This provides a good alternative for the students overwhelmed with the self-management edtech learning methods.

Parents may also gain from virtual classrooms. If allowed, they can watch teaching and learning sessions to ensure satisfaction with the education their children are receiving.

5. Whiteboards

Whiteboards are tools for drawing, writing, or making graphics. It borrows its name from its real-world predecessor, the blackboard. An instructor is able to visually explain concepts, ideas, and formulas.

Interactive whiteboards use software apps that enable image manipulation. Such features create more realistic presentations. This can make complex concepts easier to understand.

The use of whiteboards can increase participation. Learners are able to directly interact with the learning material on the whiteboard. According to research, this active participation of students can result in a positive influence on the students’ achievement.

Students also get a variety of ways to learn, including listening to and watching elements of the subject on the whiteboard. These different forms of learning address the diverse ways children process information.

Using interactive whiteboards, instructors can integrate other types of educational technologies. They can attach cameras, computers and mixed-reality devices to enhance learning instructions. Whiteboards, therefore, provide endless possibilities for edtech.

6. Mobile Technology, Computers, And Tablets

Mobile devices are small and portable. This is a big advantage. Learners can carry them around and access information from anywhere.

With mobile learning, educators can create ebooks on various subjects. Students can then access this information by the click of a few buttons. Apart from that, the advancement of digital smartphones has made it possible to have advanced mobile apps. This software can be used in m-learning and augment classroom lessons.

With all the advantages of smartphones comes some inconveniences. The use of mobile phones in classrooms may become distracting for learners. Teachers can come up with ways of dealing with these issues in advance. For example, schools can restrict their use to after-school assignments.

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Computers are also available in portable sizes in the form of laptops. Together with tablets, these devices can be used to access websites and online journals. Students can carry out their research projects without the hustle of looking for library books.

To effectively use mobile phones, computers, and tablets in learning institutions, schools need to figure out how to make the devices available for all learners and have rules that regulate the use of the gadgets in classes.

How To Select Educational Technology For Your Teachers

Educational technology is changing teaching and learning methods. The goal is to make it effective and to bring a positive outcome. School administrators should, thus, make a careful selection of new technologies to adopt.

Schools have different challenges and needs. Not all edtech may serve each learning institutions equally.

Here are a few questions schools can assess before incorporating new technologies. These can help select the right fit for the teachers and students involved:

Use this evaluative approach to guide decision making. Select the most ideal type of education technology that fits your teachers.

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