By Dominic Gibson
Student engagement is the vital ingredient of classroom learning and academic excellence. Without it, students lose interest in their education and falter in their grades. Yet, this is also the area where most teachers and instructors struggle.
A 2015 Gallup survey reported that nearly 50% of the students from 5 through 12 grades felt disengaged in classrooms. The numbers grew as students moved towards higher grades and reached highest in the 11th grade.
Over the years, we have worked with K-12 educators from all over the world. And their primary concern is the lack of student engagement in classrooms. There are various factors that contribute to this disconnect on the part of the students. With the rapid advances in technology and the prevalence of a digital culture, traditional learning simply does not click with the students. Imagine a child who spends many hours on the laptop, TV, smartphone or a tablet. When this same child is made to sit in front of a whiteboard or listen to a one-sided, lecture-styled lesson, he or she simply loses interest.
The question is, what can you do to resolve this dilemma? Through our extensive experience of working with educators, we have found EdTech (education technology) has the potential to be the key to this problem. EdTech is the collaboration of educational needs with technological tools and platforms. It’s an umbrella term that applies to a vast variety of educational technologies such as online lectures, content marketplaces, interactive on-computer testing and digital collaboration tools. Resources such as the Google Classroom suite offer the potential for setting up multi-disciplinary projects, while also supporting creative exploration, through integration with an extensive range of apps. Within the K-12 context, EdTech has the potential to revolutionize and transform the student engagement model.
We’ve seen classrooms transform and student engagement grow steadily with the use of EdTech. Following are some of the benefits of incorporating EdTech into your classrooms.
EdTech allows teachers to deliver course content in non-traditional ways, as interactive lessons for instance. This essentially eliminates the need for classroom lectures. As an educator, this means that you get to spend more time on designing, planning and overseeing interactive classroom activities. Such activities include discussions, presentations, debates and other forms of collaborative learning. These activities engage students and persuade them to participate in the goings-on. It also opens up opportunities for peer-to-peer learning among students and builds better student relationships.
The sheer flexibility and versatility of EdTech offers endless opportunities. It allows you to differentiate content for individual students. Through interactive classroom activities, you are better able to divine the progress and learning ability of each student. Based on this knowledge and by using digital educational tools, you can easily modify and adapt the standard curriculum to the unique needs of each student.
For students, this means that they receive a more tailored education which focuses exactly on the areas they lack in. This gives students the feeling that they are getting the attention they deserve. It also makes their learning experience more meaningful and fruitful.
Gone are the days when missing a day in the classroom due to holidays or sickness was considered a setback for students. EdTech tools and technologies have made learning ubiquitous. Curriculums and lessons can be accessed online, anywhere and anytime. This has immense implications for the students and for families with increasingly busy schedules.
Each student has a unique lifestyle and circumstances. The sheer flexibility of EdTech lets students learn at their own pace and in their own style. Some students may watch lessons in evening hours, allowing them to discuss their subjects over dinner whilst the content is still fresh. Others may find it more convenient to go through them in the early morning. Students can pause, rewind, replay and fast forward online lessons as frequently as they want.
Such flexibility accommodates the circumstances, needs, and preferences of each student. In return, students are able to connect with this mode of learning which leads to better student engagement.
Meaningful Student Data
Meaningful student data helps teachers differentiate curriculum and instruction to the needs of the students. Online videos, lectures, quizzes and other tools make it immensely easy to gather such data with pinpoint accuracy. Using this data, you can discern which students lack in what areas and then focus on them. Students can also view the opinions, responses, and performance of fellow students, which lets them learn and grow in a more socially interactive environment.
The use of interactive technology in K-12 education is the key to driving student engagement. It empowers educators and students alike by providing opportunities for differentiated instruction in classrooms which leads to improved student understanding and achievement.
Do you use EdTech in your sessions?
Tell me in the comments what EdTech resources you’ve tried and how you found them!
About the Author:
Dom Gibson is the Educational Content Editor at Tutorful, the UK’s fastest growing Tuition marketplace, offering an awesome choice of expert STEM tutors. You can find everything you need from science to maths, art and engineering tuition. Dom spends most of his time spreading the word about modern tutoring, researching awesome educational content and sharing it with Tutorful’s users. You can read the Tutorful blog and find their social media links here.