top button

10 More Educational Technology Concepts Every Teacher Should Know About

+3 votes
5 views

 

1. Alternative input devices. These tools are designed to allow students with disabilities to use computers and related technology easily. Some alternative input devices include touch screens, modified keyboards, and joysticks that direct a cursor through use of body parts like chins, hands, or feet. Some up-and-coming technology in this area is sip-and-puff systems, developed by companies like Microsoft, to perform computer functions through the simple process of inhaling and exhaling. On-screen keyboards are another area of input technology that is providing K-12 learners with disabilities better use of computers and mobile devices for learning.​

2. Speech-to-text options. This technology is making mainstream waves through its use in popular cell phones like the Android-platform Razr M. While it is a convenience tool for people without disabilities, speech-to-text provides a learning advantage for students who have mobility or dexterity problems, or those who are blind. It allows students to speak their thoughts without typing and even navigate the Internet. speech-to-text options can also “talk back” to students and let them know about potential errors in their work.

3. LAMP. Language Acquisition through Motor Planning, or LAMP, connects neurological and motor learning in a way that makes communication easier for students with autism and related disorders. These principles have proven especially helpful for students who do not speak or have very limited verbal skills. Paired with technology, LAMP principles empower a growing student population with autism to effectively communicate and reach higher academic achievements. LAMP is present in technology – from specially made computers to learning apps.

4. Sensory enhancers. Depending on developmental patterns, children may need to learn differently than their peers. Instead of ABCs and numbers first, a child with language delays may benefit from bright pictures or colors to learn new concepts. Sensory enhancers may include voice analyzers, augmentative communication tools, or speech synthesizers. With the rapid growth of technology in the classroom, these basic tools of assistive technology are seeing great strides.

5. Screen readers. This technology is slightly different from text-to-speech. It simply informs students of what is on a screen. A student who is blind or visually impaired can benefit from the audio interface screen readers provide. Students who otherwise struggle to glean information from a computer screen can learn more easily through technology meant to inform them.

6. Mobile learning. Tablets and smartphones in the classroom are no longer a matter of “if,” but “when, and how quickly?” Administrators and educators can tap into the convenience of mobile technology in the classroom and the potential for student learning adaptation. Over half of school administrators say there is some form of mobile technology in their classrooms and that they plan to implement more when it is financially feasible. School districts should keep in mind that the purchase of mobile devices for K-12 use is only one piece in the learning puzzle. There must be funding for teacher training and maintenance of the devices too.

7. Learning analytics. This evolving concept in K-12 classrooms is different from educational data mining. It focuses on individual students, teachers, and schools without direct implications to the government. Learning analytics are the education industry’s response to “big data” that is used in the business world for improvements and redirection of focus. Learning analytics show students what they have achieved and how their achievements match up with their peers. If implemented correctly, this technology has the potential to warn teachers early of academic issues while keeping students more accountable. Using the mobile and online technology already in place, students can better track and tailor their academic experiences.

8. Open content. The rise of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, has trickled down from college learning to K-12 education. Increasingly, K-12 educators are also coming to believe that all information on any given topic already exists. In effect, a growing number of people believe that content does not need to be re-created or purchased, and the idea has gained steam among K-12 educators specifically. Within the next three years, expect more shared content available to teachers and to students. Open textbooks, resources, and curricula are not the only benefit of an open content push; shared experiences and insights are also valuable teaching tools.

9. 3D printing. Also known as prototyping, 3D printing will allow K-12 students to create tangible models for their ideas. Many fields, like manufacturing, already make use of this technology to determine the effectiveness of ideas on a smaller, printable scale. In education, this technology will bolster creativity and innovation, along with science and math applications. The STEM Academy has already partnered with Stratasys, a leading 3D printing company, to start integration of the technology in programming classes.

10. Outdoor/environmental learning. In short, more schools are looking for ways to get students and teachers outside. We are in an era of experiential learning, so environmental education fits the bill for many students. Lessons in this field teach children an appreciation of the earth and of its resources that the human population is quickly depleting. A better, hands-on understanding of nature also helps with science comprehension and gives students practical learning experiences.

Research has also found that teaching outside, even for short stints, improves student attitudes, attendance, and overall health. In many schools, teachers have always had the freedom to take students outside if they deemed it lesson-appropriate. Look for more official outdoor-teaching policies in the coming year, though, that encourage teachers to incorporate outdoor and environmental learning in all subjects.

As you can tell, many of these technologies have the power to change dramatically the learning experiences of students with learning disabilities, impairments, and other challenges that traditional learning methods have been less able to address. It is likely that we will see more use of these ten technologies and concepts in the next few years. In another article, I will focus on five more of these technology concepts every teacher must know.

posted Mar 6 in EdTech by Monich

  Promote This Article
Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button Google+ Share Button LinkedIn Share Button Multiple Social Share Button

Related Articles
+2 votes

Technology continues to cause massive changes to learning environments.

EdTech has transformed everything from teacher-student interactions to assistive technologies. And some of the most exciting trends in education technology are making personalized learning possible. As tech and IT costs fall, more schools are investing in these cutting-edge technologies to help their students succeed. Here are seven EdTech trends you need to know about for 2019.

1. Artificial Intelligence

AI is trending in education because it helps teachers identify personalized approaches to instruction. Since AI can “learn” from student inputs on digital tests, quizzes, and worksheets, it can test areas of mastery and weakness. It can then adjust the content and presentation to accommodate those needs. These tasks are common for any instructor, but they’re also time-consuming. Automating these tasks can free up time for teachers to focus on guiding students to their educational goals.

For example, Thinkster Math is a tutoring program that uses machine learning to create personalized learning programs in math. The AI presents math problems and tracks how the student got their answer. The program looks for areas of misunderstanding and places where students have missed steps in their problem-solving. Then it makes suggestions based on that data. The process corrects the student within the context of solving the problem — the most valuable teaching moment. The AI can deliver useful feedback that’s customized for the individual student.

2. Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have massive implications for educational instruction and student engagement. Artificial reality brings students to quasi-realistic settings where feedback is instant. As prices continue to drop for AR/VR equipment, schools can invest more in “immersive learning” approaches.

AR has already made its way into the classroom via supplementary textbook materials that add extra dimensions to lesson plans. Students can use tablets and smartphones to access 3D models of dinosaurs and flashcards that interact with their textbooks. These innovations literally bring subjects to life and engage students on a much higher cognitive level than traditional classroom lectures.

3. Game-Based Learning

Games have always been an integral part of learning, but the growth in EdTech and electronic devices in the classroom will drive the popularity of game-based learning. This playful pedagogy uses repetition and goal setting to improve comprehension and retention. Like video games themselves, students move from one level to the next, gaining skills as they go. The key is to create learning challenges easy enough to “win,” but challenging enough to promote learning.

Game-based learning is highly motivating, immersive, and encourages students to learn by doing. Because students are already familiar with games, educational apps that use these approaches will become more critical to personalized and blended learning strategies.

4. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is already bringing low-cost data storage, software hosting, and connectivity to the business world, and educators are now seeing its benefits for education. Cloud computing broadens where and when students and teachers can access homework. With documents, assignments, and lesson plans stored in the cloud, students can take tests or do homework anywhere there’s an internet connection. Students can access assignments from home during free time, vacation, or during an illness. And teachers can access assignments outside of school settings.

Schools are adopting cloud-based services to relieve students of heavy textbooks and the need for locker storage. And digital libraries are replacing physical ones, saving resources and space. Cloud-hosting software can also save schools IT resources since software is managed and delivered over the internet. No need for server rooms, IT tech, and equipment.

5. Move to Mobile

The move to mobile EdTech is beginning in higher education where almost every student has a smartphone. Like cloud-based computing, mobile’s advantage for education is making learning and resources accessible anywhere, anytime. Another benefit mobile brings is that students can interface with their instructors, institutions, and groups using devices they’re already familiar with.

Schools moving to mobile can also benefit from "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) strategies — a growing trend among high school and post-secondary education. Teachers can choose from a variety of BYOD learning apps for note taking and collaborative writing projects. And students can work from devices they know how to use.

6. Online Social Networking & Learning

While social networks and education seem at cross-purposes, schools are starting to use social networks for collaborative learning opportunities. Social networking for education takes collaboration outside the classroom walls. Like mobile devices, social collaboration online gives students opportunities to learn from each other: anywhere, anytime. Collaborative learning promotes diversity perspectives, peer learning, raises confidence, and improves engagement.

Educational social media platforms like Twiducate let teachers communicate assignment due dates, provide links to resources, and disseminate other useful information. Therefore, social media solves a practical problem for teachers. But it also has the potential to support learning — by offering more opportunities for discussion, asking questions, and challenging ideas.

7. Online Learning and MOOCs

Online learning is more popular than ever both in education and business settings. Massive open online courses (or MOOCs) like Udemy or Khan Academy offer cost-effective ways for institutions to supplement their curriculum. Colleges and universities are moving into the MOOC space too, offering online courses on sites like EdX. The entrance of MIT and Harvard into these educational spaces is helping with certification and standardization — two problems that have plagued online learning for years.

+2 votes

Education Technology (also known as “EdTech”) refers to an area of technology devoted to the development and application of tools (including software, hardware, and processes) intended to promote education.

Put another way, “EdTech is a study and ethical practice for facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

Although this developing field may sound like a specialized niche, its potential implications are far-reaching and affect many segments of the population. Read on to find out if you’re among those most likely to benefit from the advancement of EdTech, and how you can contribute to its growth.

For Educators and Educational Institutions…

The great tech minds tasked with creating the data-driven processes and applications that facilitate learning may understand solution-implementation–but they can’t stand in for educators when it comes to disseminating knowledge.

Conversely, strong educators aren’t necessarily equipped or inclined to deal with all the technology available to them and develop ways to apply it to their discipline. They will be the first to tell you that there are enough challenges in their day-to-day work without asking them to become IT experts, as well.

“If developed and applied correctly, #edtech has the potential to become industry-changing”

Services like Alma and Engrade provide one-stop solutions for teachers and schools while illustrating just how far EdTech can take us. If developed and applied correctly, educational technology has the potential to become truly industry-changing for educators–streamlining time-consuming processes (like lesson planning, reporting, and record-keeping) and simplifying communication–with even farther-reaching implications for educational institutions themselves.

EdTech Magazine cites the capacity of this technology for providing institutions with “a very clear understanding of any number of points of reference — student progress, budget performance, alumni snapshots; the list of possibilities and insights truly is limitless.”

For this reason, the future of education relies on an ongoing dialogue between educators and educational institutions, and professionals in the tech world.

The future of education relies on educators, institutions & tech professionals

For Technologists and Designers…

For tech professionals, this means a growing and ongoing need for development in the area that is able to scale as evolving devices and technology multiply avenues for information delivery. And that’s a tall order in a landscape where these elements are developing almost more quickly than they can be understood and applied to the field of education.

Not surprisingly, the current rate of EdTech development is leaving gaps. The recent Software & Information Industry Association’s 2014 K-20 vision survey revealed a“high desire for more technology integration–and need for more support–at all educational levels.”

The annual survey, which polls nearly 1,000 educators across every tier of K-20 education, was released in June during the International Society for Technology in Education’s 2014 expo and indicated that “the ideal level of technology integration is significantly higher than current levels.” EdTech Magazine highlighted several findings from the report, including the following pain points:

  • The majority of K-12 respondents do not feel “highly prepared” for online, summative assessments: 42 percent say they have adequate bandwidth, and 36 percent say they have enough devices and other hardware for students.

  • Three-quarters of K-12 respondents say technology integration is highly important, but their current levels and ideal levels of integration do not align: Only 22 percent say their schools are already highly integrated.

These findings signal a need for technological and professional development on every level of EdTech and the presence of unique career development opportunities.

For Career Seekers…

While a number of job-seekers wish to find work that is simultaneously fulfilling and profitable, the two don’t always seem to go hand in hand (just ask a teacher).

However, the dramatic increase in venture capital investment in Education Technology promises just that.

Forbes remarks, “Whereas teachers generally top out at around $80,000 (and only if they get masters/doctoral degrees), education entrepreneurs have shown that making money and doing well are not always misaligned.”

Whether you’re embarking on a new career or seeking career guidance, the promise of the growing educational technology field delivers enticing opportunities to apply your skills in an environment with true global impact.

For Everyone Else…

At the risk of over-evangelizing the importance of Education Technology, it can be said that the successful development of these tools will impact every aspect of our future. Accessible, effective solutions for superior education empower students and teachers to focus on the task of learning. They can do more with the resources they have, improving the quality of education available to young people around the globe, and better-equipping them for the future.

These are our imminent engineers, architects, and doctors–the leaders of social and political movements to come. Making sure they have the best means available in order to prepare them for these roles ensures a brighter future for all living creatures, and for the planet itself. The next generation faces no shortage of challenges–it’s our job to see that they face no shortage of support in order to overcome them.

in EdTech
+1 vote

Earning a degree takes a lot of hard work and focus, but getting through college in one piece is all about finding shortcuts to maximize and manage one’s time effectively. Edtech life hacks let clever applications and websites do the technical work, allowing students more time for learning and studying.

From scheduling and reminders, to study and presentation tools, there’s an edtech solution to almost any college assignment. To start your school year off smart, here are ten tools you just have to use to make your life easier.

10 Edtech Life Hacks for College Students

1. Quizlet

This site makes cramming for midterms and finals easier, with millions of searchable study guides, flashcards and games. If you can’t find a topic you need, you can customize your own study tools. Quizlet is also a great resource for teachers and can be an engaging alternative to paper study guides.

2. Google Voice Typing

Regardless of your major, every college student can use a reliable voice typing app. From drafting an essay to outlining notes, letting a computer do the typing can alleviate carpal-tunnel-inducing assignments. There are a lot of expensive and flawed transcription and voice recognition services online, but Google’s voice typing function within Google Documents is perhaps the most accurate one you can access for free. To use it, you must open a Google Document in the Chrome web browser. Then, you’ll find “voice typing” under the “tools” drop-down menu.

3. If This Then That(IFTTT)

Have you ever wished you had a genie who could schedule an event, remind you to do your laundry, or organize your email with one command? IFTTT connects multiple devices and applications through a free command, or “recipe,” service. For example, if your FitBit records a sleepless night, Google Calendar will remind you to go to bed earlier. Other recipes connect social media accounts, update you on news alerts, and track online sales.

4. Canva

Unless you’re in art school, the design is probably not your forte. But that doesn’t mean your class presentations and Facebook event invites have to be drab. Canva gives you all the graphic materials you need to create appealing visuals, including free stock photos, filters, icons, fonts, and layouts.

5. Doodle

Between-group assignments, student government meetings, work shifts, volunteer hours and coffee breaks with friends, college students have a knack for filling up their agendas. Doodle is a handy website that helps you find the best time for everyone and schedule meetings without conflicts. It also easily integrates with Google Calendar so all of your appointments are coordinated in one schedule.

6. Top Documentary Films

When studying notes doesn’t seem to sink deep enough into your brain, watching educational documentaries can be an effective method to prepare for an exam. This blog-turned-community houses over 3,000 documentaries to watch for free, most available in full-length. With 25 categories to browse, this can also be a useful site to search if your professor assigns a documentary for homework.

7. Flipboard

Switching tabs between the news, social media and academic articles take up a lot of time. Not to mention, it slows your computer down. Flipboard simplifies your media consumption, so you can quickly access your favourite outlets and save stories for later.

8. ZoomNotes

If you prefer taking notes on your tablet or laptop, ZoomNotes is a great application that’s full of comprehensive tools. Sketch with eight different pens and draw diagrams with unlimited zoom capability. You can import and write over PDFs, photos, videos and other documents.

9. Import.io

This site collects data quickly for easy spreadsheets and charts. Simply copy and paste a URL that contains a data set (search results and Wikipedia charts work well) and Import.io will turn it into an organized table. You can then export the table as a CSV file, saving hours of pasting and rearranging figures into your own spreadsheet.

10. Kiosko

View the front pages and headlines on major international newspapers dating as far back as 1945. Use this historical archive as a starting point for research and fact checking or download the images for more creative projects and presentations.

+1 vote

In November 2018, Michael R. Bloomberg announced a donation of $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University to create a fund that would help low and moderate-income group students complete their college degrees. Without a doubt, this is an incredibly meaningful initiative. However, it led me to start wondering if monetary support alone is enough for students with special accessibility needs or students who come from a variety of marginalized backgrounds.

When we think of college, the first question that often comes to mind is affordability. But affordability is not the only factor. Most educational institutions provide financial support to a few selected students in the form of scholarships and loans. However, students require much more than just financial support to survive four years of college and develop the skills and confidence they need to begin successful careers.

How Edtech Entrepreneurs Can Make College More Accessible To All Students

Most colleges fall short here. There are far more inequalities and biases embedded in the fibers of our society than what financial aid for tuition can bridge. I believe that real college access should open doors for students irrespective of race, gender, immigrant status, family income or physical mobility. A recent study revealed that at some of the best colleges across the United States, more students were from the top 1% than from the bottom 60% of income groups. 

Entrepreneurs building companies of the future should be concerned. The workforce, comprising of millennials driven by intellectual curiosity, moral obligation and exposure to humanitarian causes, is inquisitive about freedom, equality and inclusivity. An employer is judged by its commitment to society and causes. Especially in tech startups, graduating students have begun to consider the brand image of a future employer before saying yes to an offer. Therefore, it will be increasingly beneficial for entrepreneurs if they build brands that nurture an ecosystem where students are provided opportunities based on their merit and not simply their elite pedigree.

As part of their measures to diversify their student bodies, colleges often claim to support students by providing them with tuition fee waivers. But free tuition is helpful only when one is able to get an offer of admission. Moreover, there are indirect costs beyond tuition fee that financial aid doesn’t cover, such as food, housing, and supplementary course material. This forces many students to earn money during the time that they should be studying. Some incur large personal debt, others skip classes to work odd jobs, while a few succumb to financial stress and drop out.

The problem becomes even more complex when dealing with learners from diverse backgrounds who have special needs such as students who require accessibility considerations and students with learning disabilities.

 

Having worked closely with various state public schools with students from mid- to low-income families as well as accessibility services at various colleges, I’ve observed that students require a lot of support beyond classroom lectures. Unlike students from affluent families who get mentoring and support right from the start, less privileged students struggle to balance classes with part-time jobs. That’s where edtech entrepreneurs such as myself come in, by building systems that enable students to have access to higher education and study materials. Here’s how we can provide support beyond financial aid.

1. Increased Accessibility To Higher Education Even Before College

Tech entrepreneurs are in a position to influence change at the grassroots level. The pyramid leading to success in college is built on the cornerstone of early education in high school. Edtech entrepreneurs can help in two ways:

• Provide technology training for teachers in low-income neighborhoods. According to the Education Week Research Center, teachers in under-funded schools are less likely to receive technological training for teaching when compared to their counterparts in wealthier schools. Edtech companies can provide skills training for teachers on their platforms.

• Provide high school students with summer jobs/internships that give them access to an environment with technology and give them an opportunity to work in the tech-startup landscape once they graduate.

2. Corporate Network Support Circles

College is where the blueprint of the business world is laid down, and it’s important to inculcate diversity at this grassroots level. Change doesn’t start from top-down leadership; it happens from the bottom up. Currently, about 72% of CEO’s in top Fortune 500 companies are white males, and less than 1% are African-American females.

One of the key hindrances in diversity at the top level is that people tend to hire or favor candidates similar to themselves -- usually from the same schools. Students with special learning needs bear the brunt of this even more. Even if they manage to steer through their financial constraints, it is incredibly difficult to break through the glass ceiling without a supporting network.

Colleges should aid in creating corporate networks where diverse groups of students can get the right introductions. Tech entrepreneurs can help further by promoting diversity initiatives in their organizations that call for meritorious students from lower socioeconomic standing. Such initiatives should begin at the high-school level. Entrepreneurs can also support non-Ivey, state schools and community colleges that hold job fairs and employment drives.

3. Subsidized, Affordable Textbooks And Study Materials

The rising costs of textbooks add a significant burden on students who struggle to make ends meet on their limited financial aid. Even though there are a lot of services that provide secondhand books or online books, a college student still ends up spending over $1,200 on average, according to the College Board. Edtech entrepreneurs and colleges should join forces to provide subsidized books and online notes for a nominal fee. 

It’s easy to get access to reading lists of various subjects and provide materials to students accordingly in the form of study guides, notes, homework help, etc. In fact, many startups, including my own, are already doing that.

Edtech companies currently exist in their bubbles -- creating products that are redefining education. However, it is becoming increasingly important that policymakers and entrepreneurs work together to steer the discourse of higher education. It surely will be a long journey to effect change, but it will be worth starting today. 

...