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The strong push for education reform started back in the 1950s. Educators quickly adopted audiovisual communications (remember filmstrips?), starting the movement to get technology into schools to help teachers teach. Now, as in other areas of modern life, the pace of innovation in education technology, or edtech, continues to accelerate. Below are some of the beneficial ways that your child might use edtech in their education, and some things to watch out for.
We’ve come a long way since a class consisted of plodding through a single textbook, listening to lectures, completing end-of-chapter questions, and taking tests. Students frequently use technology to collaborate amongst themselves and their teacher. For example, students may plan an essay, receive feedback from the teacher, complete the final version, turn in the assignment and receive a grade all in Google docs. Because the assignment is online, the student can communicate through the language of the 21st century – images, links or even videos – in addition to words. The teacher then gives written or verbal (recorded) comments and corrections, which are more personal and meaningful than a red pen.
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Some edtech tools allow teachers to continually monitor how well students understand the concepts taught in class. Rather than waiting every 4-6 weeks for a test that takes the whole class period (and more hours for the teacher to grade), teachers and students can check for understanding in real time and adjust accordingly. Students can see where they need additional work and teachers can focus on those needs.
Many edtech tools offer opportunities for additional skills practice at home, especially in math. Teachers may assign work for students in these tools, or parents may work with their child independently.
There are a variety of tools that provide teachers the ability to create class websites to post homework. Many schools use texting tools for reminders and information, and some have social network-type communication platforms where teachers and students can communicate more publicly. These make staying in touch and involved in your child’s education much more convenient.
The edtech landscape moves quickly and educators strive to keep parents informed of which tools they use and why. As long as your school is communicating with you and employing edtech in service of learning, you’re on the right track.
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Leslie Tyler is a Vice President of Marketing at Edulastic, a platform for personalized formative assessment for K-12 students and school districts. See More.
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