EdTech: What you need to know about technology as a teaching tool

Graham Cooper, head of education at Capita SIMS, shares top tips from influential EdTech Bloggers on using technology to smoothly deliver inspiring lessons…

The most dedicated teachers work hard on bringing their lessons to life and really engaging with the children in their classroom. More often than not, these days, this often involves technology. With the online world developing at such a fast pace, it was pleasure to recently host an event for a group of education bloggers and teachers like Lee Parkinson (@ICT_MrP) and Julian Wood (@Ideas_Factory), who hotly debated the best effective ways to get maximum benefit out of the latest classroom-based EdTech tools. 

Their conclusions were both practical and inspiring. Here are four of their top tips and insights into making it all work for your school:

1.    Plan to succeed
One legacy that has remained from the days of old when your geography teacher wheeled in a TV and video recorder, only to wheel it back out again when it was impossible to switch on, is that you really need the infrastructure in place to make sure the tools you want to use run smoothly. 

There’s nothing more frustrating for teachers and their pupils than experiencing an internet drop just as you’re about to start a video link up with a class in China to discuss the impact of global warming. With the right network capability, there will be fewer disruptions and more meaningful learning can take place. Graham Cooper, EdTech expert for Capita SIMS

2.    Take the plunge
Real cultural shifts can take place when mobile EdTech enters the classroom, and you might notice children moving to become more independent learners who are prepared to take increased responsibility for their own learning. 

Of course, children learn at their own pace so you could see some children finding this easier to adapt to than others. This doesn’t mean that lesson structure flies out the window. It does mean, however, that teachers should be prepared for a greater flexibility as to how and when key skills are learnt and assessed. 

3.    Check-in regularly
Embracing innovative teaching methods is to be applauded, but some caution needs to be applied. Regularly reviewing and reflecting on new approaches that using EdTech can help ensure it’s having the desired positive effect. That way, if it isn’t, you can quickly implement any necessary changes. 

4.    Work smarter
Some educational tools save you time and, with teacher workloads a constant concern, these are worth exploring. One easy-win is Seesaw, a digital portfolio for storing pupils’ assignments. Gathering evidence of a child’s achievements takes just a couple of clicks to add a photo or note to the child’s profile.  Another lovely touch is that children can login and upload their own art or writing work, ticking the IT skills box too.

If you now feel fired up to start using EdTech to boost your pupils’ engagement, a great place to start learning more is social media. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook offer many new ideas and fresh inspiration for lesson planning. The bonus is that you can meet some amazing and inspiring educators. As a first step, you might like to connect with some of these expert bloggers, including:

•    @ICT_MrP
•    @Ideas_Factory
•    @Mr_Patel100
•    @TLPMsF
•    @Rondelle10_b

Graham Cooper (@G_Cooper) is head of education at Capita SIMS and hosted the Capita SIMS Bloggers event with @ICT_MrP @UKEdChat @Ideas_Factory @Mr_Patel100 @SchoolsAppsTeam @TheScarfedOne See capita-sims.co.uk for more information on EdTech.