Since the turn of the century, technology has promised to disrupt education, including school classrooms. The current generation of digital-native students are independent, tech-savvy and will easily get tuned off if their learning experience is all about them being watchers of “tell” lessons. There has been a lot of debate around has education technology made an impact? Are teachers really using it?
The jury is out. Hardware-centered solutions have left a bad taste in the mouth for schools as they have mostly been hard to use, hard to maintain, expensive gizmos which teachers found intimidating to use, and students quickly lost interest in. Just watching “explaining/telling” videos do not lead to learning. Source: Watching videos does not necessarily lead to learning
This Australian researcher showed kids 2 types of videos — the “traditional” science video that just explains, and then a dialogue of a teacher and student talking around the misconceptions. Muller concluded that those “clear,” “concise” and “easy to understand” expository videos that abound in science education do not appear to be particularly effective in teaching science. By contrast, videos with dialogue that address the underlying misconceptions students bring to science seem to be more educationally effective.”
Tech education innovators have taken steps to create products that are helping teachers do what they do best, which is stimulating minds, fostering skills in the next generation and thereby making learning even more rewarding for students. So just how has technology changed the face of the classroom in schools that have been bold to adopt actual disruptive technology?
A practicing doctor who runs a school where his own children study says “ Technology in my school is complimenting my teachers. Children are getting a different experience that is now integrated with the methodology that I have introduced in my school. I’ve burnt my fingers during the overdose of the technology era.”
How has technology that really works in the classroom helped the teachers?
Engage the child: Children today are from a totally different world. In order to make learning interesting in the classroom, the role of the teacher needs to evolve. She can no longer be a bystander showing videos, very often those that are collated from widely available poor quality online videos. She now needs to orchestrate the class with content featuring high-quality animation & research-based content on critical concepts where students are talking, writing, or doing an activity to reach the aim.
High-frequency feedback: Smart technology today enables teachers to review learning progress in real-time and take remedial action faster. Children are now not just watching digital content, but actively engaging with it, reflecting, and receiving assessment feedback. It has also helped to automate grading to a large extent and measuring student progress simple. The key is to partner with the one that does this.
Easy to use: Technology is constantly changing to bring the best inside the classroom. Unless it cannot be accessed with the click of a button the frequency of usage will drop. Teachers will give up.
Personalize Learning: Some technology products have elevated the role of a teacher by empowering her with academic-support strategies that are tailored to deliver student-centered lessons. The teacher can run the class at the child’s pace of learning, pause the class to have a discussion or replay parts of the class when children still look confused about a concept. This model also creates a fun and engaging classroom atmospheres that benefit students and teachers alike. An added advantage of this is that parents get feedback at regular intervals and don’t have to wait for term-end reports to know what’s happening with their child’s progress.
As we sail through this constantly evolving age of interventions in classrooms, one must remember that teaching as a human craft is what makes learning effective, not the technology. Involved school owners today evaluate what to introduce in their classrooms after the litmus test of checking if the student is able to apply the knowledge gained by using technology to do better things rather than do things better. The inevitable question must be answered before making a choice: does the technology truly benefit the students or does it detract from the true essence of learning.
(by Bidisha Banerjee, General Manager, XSEED Education Pvt. Ltd)