Imparting education is quite a task, of course!
As a teacher, it is not only your job; it is about you playing a major role in shaping the future of children. It is about being responsible for their knowledge and learning, and how they grow up as individuals.
The traditional way of teaching has been fairly straightforward – you have a classroom with rows of desks and chairs where your students sit. And you deliver lessons to all at the same time. It is systematic, like clockwork!
Yet, teaching has always been challenging for reasons as simple as holding the attention of the students, especially the younger ones. As funny as it may sound, engaging students is a universal problem irrespective of teaching methods. If you can engage students, that means you have their attention. And if you have that, rest assured, they will gain something meaningful by the time the class ends.
That said, students have many distractions these days, more so in the form of mobile devices and the openness it subjects them to. Speed has become a key; students expect and want information quickly, on their fingertips. Conventional teaching technique isn’t engaging enough anymore, regardless of how vital it remains and shall remain so. Overall management of education has grown into a bigger problem.
But modern problems require modern solutions – this is how they say it, right?
With a bird’s-eye view, contemporary education management issues can be related to:
- Student engagement
- Personalized and adaptive learning
- Accessibility to learning
There are a number of EdTech solutions that are empowering educators around the world not only in becoming more efficient teachers, but also in enabling them to be innovative in their methods. These solutions help teachers manage education better. It is more about using technology to its potential, rather than merely employing it. According to research by EdSurge, EdTech investment in the US alone peaked at $ 1.45 billion in 2018.
Textbook teaching is important. You can’t expect or lead students into practical exercises without the required theoretical knowledge. And some things are good enough for theory only. But getting the attention of students is one thing, holding it is another.
This is possibly the biggest problem for teachers, and today, it is more challenging than ever before.
How EdTech Helps: Small things make a difference. Start by breaking away from the typical seating arrangement. If you find it suitable as a teacher, make the environment a bit less formal and restrictive. Encourage interaction, discussions and debates in a casual manner. Allow students to open up.
But that’s not a technology factor. That is merely breaking a classroom routine, which doesn’t sound like a long-term solution.
Some futuristic technologies are transforming the old-school way of teaching unlike anything else. The buzz going around is – Virtual Reality in education. Take Google VR and AR, for instance. There are several virtual reality programs developed by one of the biggest tech giants in the world dedicated to making education more fulfilling. And it doesn’t have to be too expensive either; for example, Google Cardboard makes VR experiences extremely approachable. It uses a smartphone as a source, inside a cardboard headset, to run a number of VR apps.
Personalized and Adaptive Learning
One of the not-so-good things about traditional classroom teaching is the lack of personalization. And you just can’t blame the teachers for it. It is what a classroom is all about – group learning where all students are expected to be on the same wavelength in terms of grasping information.
But not every student is.
Lack of personalization and adaptability for students is one of the reasons why the results are often not considered a true reflection of a student’s intelligence.
How EdTech Helps: Make use of e-learning and a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a tool for teachers and students alike. For teachers, it enables them to create courses and upload existing ones to the platform. They can manage users (students), extract reports for in-depth analysis of their students’ performance and share feedback individually online. Such tools also allow communication, through chat and email, between teachers and students, thereby overcoming the obstacles of distance and time.
For students, the lessons and courses can be customized depending on their learning capability, in terms of pace, for example. Besides the classroom, students can repeatedly take lessons at their convenience. There are many LMS tools available today that enable personalized learning between students and teachers.
Accessibility to Learning
Making education accessible to students around the world is one of the most pressing issues surrounding the education sector. And it is challenge for a variety of reasons: budgeting, scheduling, and location.
Even in physical classrooms, teaching and learning are limited by time. Often, the schedule doesn’t offer enough time to properly teach the material. Consequently, that is one of the reasons why schools charge higher tuition – to provide students with extra classes.
How EdTech Helps: When appropriately used, technology provides solutions in ways we may be wary of accepting in the beginning. Take mobile devices, like an iPad, for instance. A device which could threaten student concentration also provides the ease of accessibility unrestricted by time and place. And because more and more students are adopting e-learning, mobile devices enable education anytime, anywhere. In fact, learning through LMS makes a great case for the use of such devices in classrooms and homes.
Online learning is not only an additional arena for professional education, but it also makes way for interacting with people from around the world. For example, open platforms like online forums and Q&A websites provide an ideal location for discussions and knowledge sharing in an informal setting. As part of e-learning, teachers can give supervised access to students to a number of such platforms like Quora, Discuss, LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers, where teachers can ask education management questions from their peers and experts in the industry. They can even get feedback from students on what they feel about the latest technologies.
So we see that EdTech platforms have become the education management systems that are solving age-old problems associated with typical classroom teaching.
Samuel Alfie is a blogger at ProProfs Discuss, the #1 Q&A website with millions of wisdom seekers collaborating to ask questions and get the best answers. He loves reading and writing about a variety of topics including e-learning, e-commerce, science, philosophy, pop culture, traveling, digital media, and more. With a knack for writing, enthusiasm for research and an editorial mindset, he loves creating content that resonates with the audience.