Learning is the one differentiator, for your career and for yourself, that’s under your complete control. It’s how we grow, how we find our place in the world, how we enrich our minds —hopefully those around you as well—.
Back in the day, everyone had to go to public or private school to obtain the knowledge they needed. But in today’s era, learning has become truly personal: So much easier and accessible, thanks to innovations in technology and instruction. EdTech has made it possible for everyone to expand the opportunities to learn however, whenever and wherever you find it best. If you’re a teacher, incorporating education technology into your learning methods is both an imperative, and a fertile source for Professional Development.
There’s a lot to learn —isn’t it always!—, but it’s not always easy to figure out what to learn (or what to go through first) and how to see its value realized.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a comprehensive guide on what you can expect to see when using, and mastering EdTech resources.
No need to get your degree… Is there?
One of the best ways to learn more about education technology is, still, to obtain a college degree. For many educators, a Master’s degree in Education Technology is a convenient way to get a well-rounded and in-depth coverage of tools and approaches, not to mention the possibility to contribute new knowledge and understanding.
The average cost of a Master’s today can range from $55,000 to as much as $90,000 USD. How much you have to pay in tuition costs depends on the college you’re going to, and that’s not counting the supplies and equipment you’ll need for your courses. Fortunately, education isn’t the only thing that’s become easier over the years. You can easily finance your college education through many methods. The fastest and often convenient way to do so is to take out a student loan. A student loan covers everything you need to be successful in college. It’s what you can use to get your supplies, equipment, and even room and board, should you decide to live on campus.
So what is Education Technology?
In its simplest form, education technology is a field focused on assessing, designing, and incorporating various technologies to make learning better, be it in terms of the experience or outcomes. The technology that’s designed is meant to benefit both teachers and students. An example of this technology would be video meeting apps, and digital whiteboards.
Another key example is Learning Management Systems (LMS). The LMS is often a central piece of the educational experience for an organization, where student data, courses, activities and interactions take place or stem from. LMS come in a broad variety, ranging from cloud-based programs to locally hosted or even mobile, many of them responsive and accessible through all kinds of devices.
When designing an experience within this type of technology and software, you need to keep in mind the different ways students can learn. Everyone has different learning needs.
Why Education Technology today
To prepare for something like an exam or a written paper, students had note taking and textbooks, among a very limited set of tools to further their education. In today’s society, we have more of an edge thanks to education technology. We can access recordings, transcripts and other recap tools, to make sure we have important information at hand.
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For one-on-one learning, scheduling sessions is far easier than it was in the past as both students and teachers can easily find a time in which to simply hop on a live session.
Other benefits you can expect to receive from education technology include:
- It’s cost-effective for both the students and learning facilities
- It’s easier for students to retain the knowledge they learn
- Learning environments are more flexible
- Students won’t feel so stressed as they would in a traditional classroom
- Communication is much more effective and accessible
- Modern technologies can help students be more engaged
The list of benefits to be had are nearly limitless. However, each of them offer trade-offs and require extensive time to study and put in practice, which you need to account for as well. If you are looking into getting started with education technology, it’s important to start with a broad view of the field. its history, modern tools and approaches; before diving deeper into a subfield with research and experimentation.
To Sum Up: Today’s EdTech challenges
Despite the number of benefits, LMS and the EdTech space still face a number of hurdles and challenges.
For students, several tools are available, and known to have a direct, positive impact on the experience and outcomes, perhaps most importantly immediate feedback. The system can provide instant response as to what you did wrong, how to fix it or what to do next; but achieving this automation demands a careful consideration of the student and the possible scenarios, in order to actually design a learning experience.
For teachers, effective communication is absolutely vital to the student’s process. EdTech can make communication more seamless and frequent, but it can also be chaotic to keep up with the many different sources of information from students.
Another common and almost perennial challenge involves usability, in particular onboarding or initial use of EdTech. This is almost always a mandatory step, that sits between the moment an LMS has been set up and the moment when you start seeing the benefits.
Even though these are only some of the most impending in a not-so-short list of issues, the reality is that our educational experiences are better off because of EdTech. Even accounting for new situations arising from the implementation of technologies in the classroom, at the end of the day EdTech is here to stay, to open new opportunities and make education better, easier to manage, more compelling and effective.