Edtech or education technology is the software, digital products, processes, and hardware that seek to combine learning and technology in any setting such as a primary school classroom. Edtech is also often used as a management or student monitoring and testing tool as well and can make the lives of teachers easier as students can often look up or revise lessons at home using their laptops and use software or digital platforms to submit homework or access resources to improve their learning and retention.
However, all Edtech is not made equal and it can be quite a task to pick and choose especially keeping in mind the individual skill level of the students, their aptitude, and their prior response to similar initiatives. Here are some tips to secure the best and most appropriate Edtech for the primary level.
1. Use Edtech to Improve, Not ReplaceSome teachers at different school levels use Edtech incorrectly, using it as a mechanism of delaying or delegating communication rather than improving it. Edtech should be used in conjunction with the primary teacher’s personal teaching style and methodology and not as a replacement. Since primary-level students have very limited attention spans, media aids, and other pre-recorded lecture material is not as useful as they would be for older students so teachers need to find a balance.
If students are taking classes from home, the teacher should still be available via video or messaging to answer questions and aid in understanding the lesson.
Edtech should also ideally be chosen to reduce the unnecessary lesson planning and checking work so that quality teacher-student interactions can take place instead and the former won’t be exhausted by doing the work that can be partially automated. Edtech can also assist in creating or providing templates for various types of lessons and then allow automatic checking and grading.
2. Requirement-Based EdtechEven at the primary level, the requirements from school to school and teacher to teacher can vary. A thorough evaluation needs to take place before any school or teacher invests in Edtech to make sure the requirements of their students are being fulfilled. Furthermore, since Edtech needs to make teachers more efficient as well as open up time for them to be more present in class as part of their workload is made easier, schools need to ask teachers what they need.
Each teacher will have some semblance of experience with tech such as software that is slow or laggy or premade tests that are simply poor assessment tools and so forth so the opinion of the educators working at the school is of the utmost importance.
Primary teachers also network with educators of the same level across multiple schools so word-of-mouth recommendations for Edtech initiatives can be helpful if they have already been tried by children of the same age and been very useful. A school-owning devices such as laminators for teachers can be excellent learning tools because laminated concept sheets can be distributed to children to kick start retention of important lessons.
3. Fashionable Doesn't Always Fit
Many schools or primary teachers may feel pressured to purchase programs and digital Edtech products because their counterparts in other schools and institutions have done so. Fashionable Edtech is not always the most useful or functional and each school has a different style of teaching and imparting knowledge. Sometimes choosing what is best for your students can mean going against what is considered fashionable in the industry.
Great Edtech always has a considerable assessment and monitoring component to it such as providing statistics and having a user dashboard for educators to deduce how well the visual aids, lessons, and resources are being utilized by the students. The students’ own retention and performance can also be measured by the software so that teachers know how to plan upcoming lessons.
4. Adapt and PopularizeEdtech means something different for each child and children have individual learning needs for example special needs children, those that suffer from ADHD and dyslexia or other learning disorders, or even students that have become overly addicted to using technology for games and entertainment and struggle with using it for lessons and homework.
You will need to adapt the way you use the chosen program for each student as some may require more time on tests, may need to be tested verbally or may have difficulty with standardized lesson templates. Lastly, enable the Edtech initiative to be used both in the classroom and at home so you can direct your primary students on how to make the most of it.