Edtech and pedagogy – is tech helping or hindering?
There’s pretty much no escaping edtech in the classroom these days. From using the camera on your smartphone to record presentations to full-on Virtual Reality setups, we are all using it to some degree. So the big question is, when it comes to edtech and pedagogy, does the one help or hinder the other.
Too often, edtech is brought in because it is new, shiny and interesting. There have been many cases where schools aren’t fully prepped for the new technology and the teachers aren’t sure how best to use it in the classroom. This means that the edtech isn’t going to do much to improve learning but rather just get in the way or cause distraction. Unfortunately, we have this habit of assuming that new technology will make things better automatically.
On the other hand, there are many great examples of how edtech has been used to improve grades and bring about massive changes in schools. So how do you reconcile these two sides of the same coin? Firstly, it’s essential to remember that “edtech works best when it is thought of as a tool to achieve a specific instructional objective and not as an end in itself”.
Objectives and outcomes first
Every subject and each class taught in a school should have a desired outcome and a method for achieving this objective. Whether you use edtech or more traditional methods, it’s essential to have this in place.
It’s also essential to plan how you are going to assess whether or not the objective has been achieved. This is now the stage where you think about using the edtech available to you. There are many tools you can use for assessment and for teaching, and it’s your job to work out which ones are going to help you achieve your goals and how they are going to do this. All it takes is a little bit of careful evaluation and planning.
If you look at things this way round, you’ll see that “edtech is not its own pedagogy”. Instead, it is simply a tool for you to use to further the education of your students.
Understand that edtech allows for personalized learning
Edtech has been described a great leveler of the playing field. However, it can only do this if the teacher adapts to use it properly. “Education is a human process” and the technology is the tool that we use.
Technology allows students to go at their own pace through a syllabus. It also gives so many more avenues to help a teacher drive a lesson home. Some people love to learn through reading and will thrive when they have access to online journals and information hubs. Others prefer to learn through doing, and will enjoy a hands-on experience through a VR set or even an app on their mobile device. As a teacher with the right technology, you can provide all of this to one classroom. Edtech “opens up new avenues for teaching old concepts”.
Use edtech to monitor progress in class
Now the final key to using edtech correctly in a classroom is to ensure that the teacher is monitoring progress. If you aren’t keeping an eye on how the students are using the technology and whether or not it is actually helping them to learn, you might as well not have it. It’s a simple fact.
No child gets left behind. Schools and teachers are constantly receiving this message from up above. What’s more, according to an article on Huffpost, children are now no longer divided according to ability in the classroom. They are now a diverse space, with advanced students in the same learning environment as others who may have special needs.
A product like the Mobile Guardian Schools solution can help teachers to monitor, in real time, what students are up to. Teachers can also pull reports to track how students are doing in their grades. This then allows teachers to slow down, speed up or even provide a serious challenge – but just for the students who need it.
Pedagogy first. Edtech second.
This is the major difference between edtech and pedagogy. The one is the tool that helps teachers and schools to realize the other. To make the most out of any edtech, it’s essential to put your pedagogical priorities in place first. Then you can free your teachers to really have fun with their lessons and the devices and software available to them.