Recently, edtech has gained momentum in many countries. And, many individuals are seeing the need for edtech solutions leading to a rise in its demand. Hence, the need to take a closer look into what edtech is.
Tech is now a buzzword. Rightly so, tech enthusiasts are excited about it and its possibilities for the future. Apparently, the impact of technology cuts across all sectors, education included.
Moreso, the introduction of technology in education, or as it is popularly called “edtech” aims to improve the learning experience for students and teachers alike.
If you’re lost on what edtech is, or you’re wondering why the rave about edtech is, then you’re where you need to be as this article aims to do justice to the concept. Kindly read along.
What Does Edtech Mean?
Edtech which is short for education technology can be broadly defined as the introduction of technological tools, applications, approaches, and curricula into learning.
Furthermore, it is not limited to education in schools alone. Organizations also employ edtech in training and developing their employee’s tech knowledge.
It encompasses a wide array of scientific aspects. Edtech as a technological tool or media includes online courses and the introduction of LMS. It could also be the introduction of topics such as computer science and information communication technology into a school’s curriculum.
Additionally, edtech involves training people to gain IT skills such as coding, blockchain analysis, website design skills, graphic design skills, etc.
Finally, edtech is the introduction of equipment, practices, theories, and techniques obtained through scientific research into education in a bid to create a more diverse learning environment for students and to teach them how to use technology.
Some Edtech Practices
Educational technology encompasses a vast array of techniques, practices, and technological tools.
Here is a list of practices through which edtech is facilitated:
This involves the use of the internet and computer in facilitating formal learning. E-learning can take many forms, they include:
a. Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is a form of e-learning where every student learns together in real time with the aid of an instructor. Here, students and instructors interact together, exchange ideas, and collaborate during learning.
Synchronous learning can happen through virtual zoom classrooms, skype classrooms, or chat rooms. The crux of this form of learning is that you must avail yourself of every class else you miss out completely on whatever is taught in class.
However, it is a great form of learning because it opens students up and helps them build social skills and confidence by interacting with others.
b. Asynchronous Learning
This is a form of online learning in which students do not have to learn together at once. Instead, each student can learn at his or her pace and time without waiting for other students or the instructor.
To facilitate asynchronous learning, teachers or instructors usually pre-recorded the classes in video or audio format on learning management systems (LMS).
Also, both teachers and students use emails to communicate. In addition, discussion boards and wikis are incorporated to encourage interaction between students and teachers.
Asynchronous learning is great for those who have tight schedules, and for those who have health difficulties.
c. Blended distance learning
Here, face-to-face learning is not totally taken out, rather it is combined with online learning.
In other words, blended learning incorporates both traditional classroom and online learning in educating students. Schools adopt blended learning to create a diversified learning process that suits different types of learners.
Instructors conduct classes both physically and online. Sometimes, classes are held physically, while students get the instructional materials online.
Some universities or colleges also employ flipped classrooms where teachers deliver reading materials, video lectures, or conduct lectures through online chat before regular classroom teaching.
d. Full Online Distance Learning
In this case, learning takes place completely online. Examples of such include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which are free and open to everyone to enroll regardless of location.
Many universities also avail foreign students the opportunity to learn from their country by making some of their courses fully online. Students also earn valid academic certificates to advance their careers.
Furthermore, it is a way to promote multicultural acceptance, cultural diffusion, and learning between students.
2. Computer-Based Training
Here the students learn by connecting to the internet via their computers, tablets, or smartphone.
After this, they are assessed through multiple-choice questions, drag-and-drop questions, simulations questions, etc.
Oftentimes, students get immediate feedback on their answers. This helps them to note their mistakes. Computer-based training may also incorporate badges, leadership boards, etc, in order to drive engagement and make learning more fun.
Examples of Edtech Tools
Technology and education are pretty intertwined these days and nearly all teachers have a few tech tools that make doing their job and connecting with their students easier and more fun for all involved.
Some of them include:
1. Learning Management System (LMS)
A learning management system is application software used by teachers to deliver, track, and manage education.
LMS is so beneficial because it can provide metrics that help to track students’ participation, progress, and time of learning.
This helps teachers to discover how well their courses are doing so that they can optimize them to improve the learning experience for students. Furthermore, LMS provides tools that allow teachers to conduct quizzes, and assessments, deliver feedback on assignments and create group discussions.
Several LMS is available for teachers to take advantage of today. Some of those popular ones include Blackboard Learn and Schoology, and Moodle.
Furthermore, organizations can also use LMS to facilitate training for employees within the organization. Some popular enterprise-level learning management software includes TalentLMS, iSpring Learn, Adobe Captivate Prime, etc.
Additionally, LMSes provide interactive video elements as hotspots through which students can personalize their learning. This equally drives students’ engagement and makes learning fun for them.
Essentially a digital whiteboard is a remote learning tool where teachers can ask questions, wait for student responses to appear, and access learning in real time.
Both learners and instructors can write and draw images on the screen, as such, it is a great way to engage students in individual and whole-class learning effortlessly.
3. Video conferencing
Video teleconferencing is a tool that allows individuals from different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to leave their location. This tool makes synchronous learning possible.
Initially, video conferencing was made possible through the webcam on personal computers. Today, software applications like zoom, skype, google meet, etc., make it possible for learners and instructors to connect not only on their personal computers but through mobile phones and tablets.
Furthermore, it fosters participation and interaction between learners and instructors. In the same vein, the students learn better.
A podcast is a digital audio file that audiences can listen to live or download later. It is a great way to implement both synchronous and asynchronous forms of learning.
Students can connect live with the instructors being the host to share ideas or listen to a pre-recorded lecture later at their convenience.
Another excellent edtech tool is the ability to share your screen with other users, so they may have access to whatever information you want them to see on your screen.
In other words, screencasting allows users to share their screens for others to see whatever they wish to share with them. This way you can share your thoughts and ideas in the form of images, and videos, rather than merely explaining them through audio.
6. Virtual Reality
Instead of just reading or listening to a teacher talk about a topic, virtual reality allows students to interact with the object of learning in a simulated environment enhanced through technology.
Students do not have to leave the class in this case. For instance, through virtual reality students and teachers can take a trip to a virtual zoo where they get to see and interact with different wild animals in an artificial three-dimension.
Virtual reality is an amazing innovation in education. It makes learning more immersive and engaging and students can understand and retain better since they are able to see and interact with what they learn.
Benefits of Edtech To Learning
The impact of edtech in education is highly noticeable. Let’s take a look at many of the benefits that accrue to the introduction of technology in education:
1. Personalized learning for students
Edtech promotes a more diverse learning environment for students. Because of the impact of edtech students can now decide to take fully online courses from anywhere in the world. Also, all students, as well as working-class individuals, can learn at their own time and pace.
Hence, technology in education has made it possible to easily cater to all types of learners.
2. Encourage collaborative learning
A major benefit of edtech is that it encourages students to learn or undertake tasks together. For instance, instructors can organize class discussions and ask students to work in groups.
This way they get to share ideas, thoughts, debate, and learn from each other.
3. Encourages continuous learning
One of the most discouraging factors for adult education was that they lack the luxury of time for physical or traditional face-to-face learning.
Today, through edtech, several online courses are available for individuals to catch up during their free time. This way they can go about their jobs, or any activity without distraction whilst still improving their knowledge continuously.
Organizations equally adopt education technology in training their staff members without interrupting their jobs. Some organizations even go as far as having their own in-app digital solutions that are accessible to all members of their staff at any time.
4. Better Students engagement
Interactive elements and tools such as quizzes, assessments, feedback, wikis, and discussion boards are great ways to drive students’ engagement.
Furthermore, gamification tools like leadership boards or virtual reality also make learning more immersive and fun.
5. Improves teachers’ productivity
LMSes give teachers the ability to monitor students’ level of engagement and understanding in the lesson. By simply accessing metrics provided by the LMS, teachers can know what to do to make the course more immersive and engaging.
Furthermore, through assessments instructors are able to discover where students may be lacking. Also, they can also reach out to students individually to help them.
Finally, through the different tools, techniques, and approaches that edtech brings, teaching has become so much easier for teachers. Students can access a recorded video or audio course, again and again, and both students and teachers can also reach out to themselves easily.
6. Makes long-distance learning possible
Through edtech the distance barrier in learning is a thing of the past. Many universities have courses for foreign students facilitated online.
This way many individuals can earn a certificate from a school they desire without necessarily having to leave their country.
Furthermore, those with physical or learning disabilities who prefer to learn from home can opt for full-distance e-learning. They can easily access classes from wherever they are and even enjoy face-to-face interaction through video conferencing if they want.
What are examples of edtech?
Examples of edtech include LMS, video conferencing, podcasting, virtual reality, etc.
Is edtech the same as education technology?
Yes. They are the same. Edtech is short for education technology.
Why is edtech important?
Edtech helps to make the teaching process less stressful, it makes learning more engaging and fun and it is a way to teach students more about technology.
Edtech has brought a paradigm shift in education. Many teachers are beginning to adopt technological tools into their teaching process. Schools are also incorporating edtech tools to make learning better.
Asides from helping to improve the learning process, many edtech startups are springing up in a bid to arm individuals with technological knowledge and skills.
Hence, you should consider enrolling in one of them so as to learn technical skills that can make you relevant in the workplace or set you up for life.
Finally, you should go ahead to read the article on the benefits of STEM learning if you’re interested in technology.
I hope this article helped.
Thanks for reading.