Is Learning Technology the Answer to Fixing Education?
When it comes to solving the problems that affect the education world today, educational technology, or edtech, shows a great deal of promise. Edtech not only refers to the technologies used in the classroom to facilitate learning but also to the technologies that allow distance learning to take place. The use of educational technology shows great promise for solving many of the problems that education faces. Here are three ways that edtech addresses these issues.
Nowadays, many high school and GED programs already require basic computer literacy. This is a good thing considering what these students will face in the professional world. While computer literacy classes teach students about topics like coding and cyber-security, these classes fulfill other requirements as well.
Students use tech classes to learn how to write proper business emails, to work out math problems in an accounting class, and to develop professional skills. Technology is the vehicle making this happen. However, by combining the school’s edtech requirements with its curriculum requirements, many of the educational issues that challenge students today get addressed as well.
Classroom Crowding Issues
Teachers often face real challenges when it comes to student numbers. It’s not unusual for teachers to have 25 to 30 students in a classroom. These crowded conditions don’t always allow teachers and students to get the one-on-one time that they need.
Tech solutions like blended learning classrooms change this dynamic. In this scenario, some students will work directly with the teacher. Other students will interface with classroom learning materials like pre-recorded lectures or reading materials. Any remaining students can work on projects on their own or with a group.
Each student in such a classroom setup spends some of his/her time with the instructor. Then the students spend some interfacing with other students on projects and then finally, some of his/ her time online using the materials that the teacher put into his/ her online classroom. This alleviates the bottlenecking that large classroom numbers create.
Educational games and simulations have become one of the most popular teaching tools in the edtech classroom. This mode of learning offers plenty of benefits. It’s a given that people love to play games. Research shows that people learn better when the learning problem is put into a story form. Stories capitalize on the brain’s need for structure in the form of metaphor, which video games can provide.
The other advantage that video games bring to the classroom is the concept of leveling up. In “normal” video game play, players cannot move to the next level until they master their current one. This is a built-in skills test.
Now, consider the implications in an educational setting. The game sets the learning outcomes that the student must reach before he/ she can move to the next level. This adds an element of feedback or correction, similar to what a teacher might provide but without requiring the presence of a teacher. In this respect, the game helps with not only issues of classroom crowding but also student competency requirements.
Even though edtech is not perfect, it shows surprising promise when it comes to solving educational problems. Technology in the classroom helps students to acquire digital literacy. It also alleviates overcrowding in the classroom by introducing technologies like video games and blended learning concepts to the mix.