The intense pace of innovation in EdTech leaves us thinking about ways of leveraging technology to better the learning outcomes for students. Schools are exploring and experimenting with every possible option to revolutionize their classrooms with technology.
To make effective use of EdTech in your school, the most fundamental thing that is required is to create a school culture for EdTech. The culture must reflect on shared attitudes and purposes, must clearly define the values, goals, and practices needed to achieve the greatest academic and social outcomes for students. Defining these things before considering how to leverage technology to transform learning in our classrooms or schools gives purpose and meaning to how we use the new technology tools at our disposal to achieve academic standards.
Creating a school culture for EdTech requires a lot of planning and effort. Once a school begins to build this culture, teachers can conveniently utilize technology to bring new and innovative ideas into the classroom, learn new ways to meet the needs of all students, and explore the possibilities to connect, communicate and create on a global scale. The approach towards developing the EdTech culture should be a careful one otherwise the culture would not be supportive enough for the implementation and use of technology for teaching and learning in the school. By changing instruction, creating a technology culture and choosing a visionary path, a school can help its students get excited about learning. There are Dos and Don’ts for creating a school culture for EdTech.
- Do proper planning by creating a clear roadmap of what you want to achieve and by when you want to achieve it. Plan for that the use of technology becomes embedded within the normal teaching and learning practices in the school. It is not to achieve and quantify but you can definitely set out a plan to achieve it. For the planning process, you also need to make sure that you have the right people in place.
- Identify your school’s EdTech goal and assess if there exists a clear goal or mission to accomplish for your school. Make sure that everyone can articulate the goal and everyone feels the ownership in getting to the goal.
- Lead the change by identifying the leadership team and setting clear expectations. Incorporation of technology in the classroom leads to a lot of change in the traditional classroom practices, and obstacles need to be removed to support the new culture. Help the students and teachers to adapt to such changes by providing them proper guidance, training and support.
- Change instruction by changing the way teachers have always taught. Technological support alters the roles and responsibilities of teachers and teachers now need to learn the new ways of instructing. Teachers have to be facilitators to effectively manage a classroom of students using technology for learning.
- The technology culture change should be organic and it should make students feel connected to the outside world while they’re at school. Students should feel more excited about learning. They can choose how to demonstrate information with videos or other methods, and must thrive at learning with technology. So, it's not just the technology, but the technology culture that the school creates.
- Create a culture of collaboration as successful collaboration among teachers allows them to see how technology is effectively utilized in classrooms. Consistent collaboration leads to professional development, developing 21st century skills for all teachers in their regular teaching environment.
- Don’t encourage teacher-centered classrooms and let technology change the role of teachers in the classroom. From being mere providers of knowledge, teachers need to now become facilitators in the process of learning. They should let students progress their learning with the help of technology and take the role of mentors and guides to support them throughout the process.
- Don’t keep your students confined to the traditional and obsolete Computer Labs. A modern school needs to have Internet connectivity everywhere. Today most kids carry a world of information in their pockets, in their mobile devices so there’s no need to force them to power down and disconnect, and confine them to obsolete computer labs.
- Don’t just buy technology for technology’s sake. You should not only buy bigger and better but instead focus on getting technology that’s smarter and more accessible. You should break free of the mindset of buying technology every couple of years and work to make technology part of the fabric of the school each and every day.
- Don’t let students still remain in their passive roles in the classroom. When students are using technology for learning, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information provided by teachers or textbooks. Technology use allows students to think actively about information, make choices, and execute skills. Technology helps students to be in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress.
- Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and create something that becomes quickly outdated, or is so outlandish that it doesn't fit in with the overall school environment. There’s a need to find the right balance.
You can bring in any technology in the world to your schools, but if teachers aren't ready for it, if the school culture isn't ready for it, it's never going to be successful, no matter how good it is. So, the culture of the school needs to be accordingly moulded in order to incorporate Edtech in it. Share your views on the context, the Comment box is waiting.