Why teachers should be techies

classroom technology
Image credit: Depositphotos

Teaching is a challenging profession and even when teachers go home at the end of the day, their work often isn’t done. From grading assignments and planning lessons to communicating with parents about their child’s progress, teachers have busy schedules and long to-do lists. Luckily, technology can help with all of that.

Teachers who learn to embrace technology can streamline their work, improve their efficiency, and even lighten their workload by letting technology take care of some of their tasks. Technology isn’t the perfect solution for overworked educators, but in many cases it can help teachers better manage their work. As a result, educators have more time and energy to invest in their students and in their own wellbeing.

In-classroom tech trends

Technology and gamification are increasingly finding homes in the classroom as they help to overcome some significant challenges that teachers face on a daily basis. Classrooms consist of students who learn very differently, and while approximately 40 percent of kids remember what they read or see, 20-30 percent remember what they hear. These different learning styles mean that teachers need to teach each lesson in multiple ways to truly connect with the students. But this can be a cumbersome and overwhelming task.

Technology allows for a more individualized in-classroom education than teachers could otherwise manage based on time restrictions and practicality. Teachers can use classroom-friendly video games to not only capture students’ attention, but to also connect with students who learn based on what they see, hear, or do.

For instance, the video game Minecraft requires that students be creative and develop problem-solving skills. Through dealing with losing, making decisions, and overcoming challenges in video games, students also learn social skills that they can apply to real life. Teachers can use video games to supplement lessons, allowing students to engage with and apply those lessons on their own with the guidance and correction of the game.

Educational video games also offer an important benefit in that they’re easily mobile and can be found online. This makes them valuable tools not only in the classroom, but also for continuing lessons when kids are at home. Video games can help kids learn important STEM lessons even in a rural setting, and teachers can assign students certain missions in their video games as homework.

Mobile apps for education

Current mobile app trends also offer numerous benefits to teachers and their students. Augmented reality apps enrich images with filters, text, and even 3D animations, and they’re often used in education settings. The Moon Phases AR app features 3D images of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to help students learn about moon phases; the images are supplemented with quizzes that students can take to test their learning. For students learning about history and civilizations, the Civilisations AR app allows students to look at artifacts from all over the world for an enhanced learning experience.

Artificial intelligence apps can also help teachers to improve the effectiveness of their classroom lessons. Using Collaboration.Ai Quick Connectors’ “Study Group” template allows teachers to customize student study groups by student topic interests. The AI program sorts students into appropriate study groups while also ensuring that students who are close friends are mostly in separate groups. These smart study groups can help to create engaging, effective learning environments for students, and the use of technology saves teachers time and effort in creating these groups.

Teachers can also use apps for their own work. Classtree lets teachers send electronic permission slips home for parents to e-sign, streamlining the process of gathering up those forms before a field trip. Additio functions as a virtual gradebook and classroom management app, so teachers can always access attendance lists, grades, and class notes from any device. There are countless apps created just for teachers.

Learning new technology

It can be challenging and overwhelming to learn and then implement new technology. Embracing technology can lead to innovation fatigue and this can make teachers start to resent or avoid the advancements that could actually be beneficial. To combat innovation fatigue, teachers and schools should always start small by bringing in one program or app at a time, and by taking adequate time to learn and get comfortable with that technology before applying it to the classroom or to their daily lives.

Schools can also support teachers with technology by offering trainings and free tech support, as well as by enrolling in school-wide subscriptions for apps and educational programs. Schools should also encourage teachers to suggest apps and programs that they would find beneficial in the classroom.

To help facilitate the process of learning and applying a new app or program, schools can encourage multiple teachers to make that transition at the same time. With multiple teachers going through the same process of learning and using an app in their teaching, they will be able to help each other, answer questions, and gain valuable tips and insights as they all explore the program or app together. This can also help teachers who are less tech-savvy to feel more confident in using an app or program.
Implementing technology isn’t without its challenges—just take a look at the challenges faced in introducing autonomous vehicles to the road—but it’s hard to ignore the benefits that tech advancements offer us today. With time to learn new tech tools, teachers can enjoy a streamlined work process, improved teaching tools, and even a reduced workload.

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