18th August 2021
Welcome to our brand new series, Technology In The Classroom. We’ll be looking at the changes to available classroom technology and how it can benefit pupils and teachers right now, as well as what the future of teaching might look like as technology advances and becomes more affordable for schools.
The UK EdTech sector grew by 72% in 2020 – mostly fueled by the sudden need for mass online learning due to the pandemic. The market in the UK is currently valued at £3.5billion and continues to rise – with so many improvements in the last year and a large amount of exciting tech on the horizon, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of technology in the classroom and how it can benefit the teachers, schools and pupils that adopt it.
Even if you don’t work in a modern, tech-focused school, you’ll almost certainly have access to equipment that wasn’t available to teachers just a few years ago. Education technology has developed significantly in the last decade, with the advent of ipads in the classroom, many more tech and education companies are produced app-based content for schools. Blackboards have been almost completely replaced by smartboards that provide a huge increase in functionality, from collaborative working to making learning more accessible for the hard of hearing or those with impaired vision. Improvements in the tech available for classrooms has left some equipment obsolete – overhead projectors, clunky desktop computers and even textbooks are already less common in classrooms in the UK.
For some more experienced teachers, the swift change to a tech-led classroom might not be as welcomed. All new tech requires training and schools must ensure that teachers are empowered to make the most of available equipment with appropriate, ongoing training and easy-to-access support when things go wrong.
It’s obvious to even the most technophobe teacher that there can be significant benefits to moving towards a tech-led classroom. Is it better to be an early adopter of new technology, or does having increasing amounts of digital stimulus in classrooms create a distraction from the business of learning?
Most technology for the classroom is designed with reducing teachers workload in mind. From providing easy access to ready-made resources to organisation applications that help teachers to track academic progress, homework and attendance, technology can assist with most aspects of classroom management. How else does decent classroom technology benefit teachers?
Whether you completed your teacher training last year or a decade ago, the rapid move towards tech-based teaching means that educators must keep their own knowledge up to date in a fast-moving area. Schools should provide training for any new technology that is introduced into the classroom, to ensure it’s contributing positively to the learning environment and not causing undue frustration to already stressed teachers. Tech can go wrong and this can take up precious teaching time. Ensuring you know how your classroom equipment works, where to get help if it goes wrong, testing it before the start of term and making sure to keep your software and training up to date will help reduce downtime and lead to more creativity and engaging use of your available technology.
For teachers who want to grow their career, keeping up to date with the latest developments in EdTech will give a strong advantage, especially in the modern, tech-led schools and academies. Start by seeking out high-quality CPD around technology in classrooms, either from your school, agency or an outside organisation such as Creative Education. Keep up to date with research, follow leaders in education technology on social platforms and follow the #edtech and #edtechchat hashtags on twitter to stay on top of the latest developments.
Finally, the real key to maximising the potential of EdTech is to embrace developments and open your mind to new possibilities and creative ways to teach and engage your pupils. The potential offered by the tech available to most teachers even right now is almost limitless – from creating on-the-spot assessments that truly represent your pupil’s full spectrum of ability to virtual classrooms designed as augmented reality learning environments. Right now, teachers are designing games that have the possibility to accelerate the learning of even the least academic pupils, by connecting with them in a way they can really relate to. The future of education technology is exciting and looks to be fast-paced – becoming an advocate of technology in the classroom can make you a true thought leader in the staffroom and the wider education community.
Technology for the classroom is specifically designed to provide a more engaging and exciting learning experience for pupils. There are some real and immediate benefits to incorporating tech-led teaching into your lesson plans:
Much has been made of the distraction that technology can be in classrooms. With many schools spending the last few years changing and updating their mobile phone policy to remove tech from the hands of pupils, EdTech does work to put it back in their grasp, but with a set of rules and boundaries that allow the significant benefits of learning through technology without the possibility of free reign on the internet behind the teachers back.
Make Technology Work In Your Classroom
Doing your own research into the types of technology that are working in modern schools across the world will give you a broader idea of what’s available and how it’s being used. It’s early days for the majority of technology-based classroom equipment, but initial results are extremely positive, with schools who back EdTech in their classrooms reporting higher engagement, a deeper understanding from pupils of more complex concepts and less teacher burnout. Of course, investing in technology is expensive and many schools have stretched budgets already. A slow investment in upgrading technology is likely for most urban schools, but the change IS happening and it’s unlikely to slow down:
We would really like to here from teachers who are loving (or hating!) the influx of new technology in their classrooms. Whatever your view on Edtech, share your opinion on twitter here & join our conversation.
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