Last week on the blog we discussed what principals think about technology in the classroom, but what about the professionals who are ultimately responsible for utilizing these tools? What are teachers saying about the technology being brought into their classrooms?
New technology is entering schools all the time. With so many changes, the classroom is an exciting and ever-changing place. While these tools are helping to prepare students for the future, they can also come with a few challenges.
According to Promethean’s 2019 U.S. State of Technology report , Roughly 80% of teachers agree technology accelerates learning, while 72% agree utilizing technology in the classroom is a great way to keep students engaged. These responses indicate that teachers see the benefits of technology in the classroom, especially when it comes to student engagement and learning outcomes.
Technology isn’t just helping students learn more efficiently. In some cases, technology can remove physical barriers to help students study things in new ways. For example, virtual reality is helping students explore new topics and environments by doing more than just reading about them. Teachers have taken notice. In that same study, 53% of teachers said they believe that virtual learning environments will see the biggest growth in the next five years.
National Geographic and Discovery have both launched programs that allow students to go on virtual expeditions. Instead of reading about penguins in a text book, first graders can strap on a Veative headset and go along with arctic explorers as they study the tundra in real time. After the initial tour, students are invited to participate in a live stream where they can ask scientists questions about their work, and how the lessons they learn today can prepare them for the expeditions of tomorrow.
While technology is helping to change the classroom and prepare students for the future, implementation can be difficult at times. In Education Week’s 2019 edition of Technology Counts, educators opened up a bit about the barriers to success they are seeing.
One concern teachers have with technology is the challenges some students will face at home. While 1:1 programs have proven to be effective in the classroom, the same can’t always be said for what happens when students are away from school. For students living in poverty or extremely rural areas, tech-based homework may pose an unfair challenge. Without access to electricity and/or wifi, these students may simply be unable to complete the tasks assigned to them, putting them even further behind their peers. These students aren’t the only ones struggling to keep up.
According to Education Week 46% of teachers indicated that their workload had become unmanageable. With ever-changing standards and new concepts being introduced every day, it can be exhausting for teachers to set aside time to properly incorporate yet another new piece of technology.
The good news is that professional development companies like Educational Collaborators and STEAM Drones understand the challenges teachers face, and offer services designed to help them utilize these products without pulling them out of the place they are needed most ─ the classroom.
As educational technology continues to change classrooms and prepare students for the future, its clear teachers are excited and ready to help students adapt. While there may still be a few barriers to overcome, educators are ready to take on the challenge. They just may need a little extra support along the way.
What are some innovative new ways you have seen teachers using technology in their classrooms?