The Growth of Educational Technology in Our Classrooms: What to expect in 2016

Tablet computers are now present in almost 70% of primary and secondary schools in the UK, according to a study from Tablets for Schools .

Educational technology (EdTech) is very much a part of our education system today. Rising number of technological devices and new innovations in EdTech mean it’s here to stay.

However, while many educators welcome the advances in technology, there are still those who question the place of tech in the classroom.

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Benefits of Educational Technology

Incorporating technology into the classroom can be a huge step for schools, colleges and universities.

As technology continues to advance, it’s important that we as educators are certain of the benefits of bringing that technology into our classrooms before doing so. It can feel that technology takes certain aspects of the student’s education beyond our control. Here are some of the main benefits of EdTech:

Increase in learner engagement

Being able to involve technology within the core part of the lesson, such as researching on a tablet or using an app to complete part of a task can grab the learner’s attention more than some traditional methods of teaching.

The ability to easily record data

Technology in the classroom can help to store test scores, attendance records and behavioural data more securely than manually filing assessments and paper records. Certain applications allow you to measure data over time and this can be useful for analysing attendance or learner progress.

Automate marking for teachers

Manually marking test papers can be time consuming for teachers. Especially if there’s more than just one class with tests that need to be checked. As educational technology develops, the number of assessments taken online will begin to grow. This means that less teachers will be required to mark test papers and will have more time to spend focusing on planning the next lesson. ● Increase access to learning outside of the classroom environment - The Internet is available to use 24/7 but school libraries can close at 5:00pm so being able to use an Internet-connected device outside of school hours for homework and research can enable children to learn more at home without the restriction of needing to stay after school hours. ● Different and fresh learning styles - Everyone has a preferred methods of learning; whether you are a visual learner, analytical learner, wholistic or verbaliser, mixing up and changing the style of teaching can help to accommodate the learning needs for most pupils. Challenges learning providers could face with educational technology

There are still some hurdles learning providers face when deciding to invest in educational technology. Although cost is the main concern for schools with restricted budgets, trying to incorporate a new method of learning into a firmly set structure can prove difficult. Especially when staff training, ease of use and classroom capacity are all things that need to be considered before making a decision.

Funding can be a big problem for schools and colleges especially if they aren’t certain that they will receive a return on their investment and whether it will benefit their already sound learning system that is in place. However you should still consider the number of doors technology opens for students looking for a career in technology. Especially for pupils who benefit from the accessibility technology offers compared to conventional methods of learning.

Tablet vs Textbook

Are you a believer in the good old fashioned ‘pen and pad’ or do you think technology could fight its way past traditional teaching methods? Educational technology does help to cater to individual pupils’ needs and assessment systems. Applications such as Functional Skills Diagnostics tests can create a personalised learning plan for every student by screening the learning level of the pupil. For teachers to manually do this for all of their students would be nearly impossible with the time they have to spend with them. Therefore using technology in the classroom is perfect for assisting when conventional methods would be unnecessary.