Technology seems to be everywhere these days, including at work, in the home and even in your vehicle. In fact, technology plays such a prominent role in society that many feel that technology and education tools need more focus in the classroom.
So-called “EdTech” is becoming more common in American classrooms as it provides both educators and students with the ability to learn about new technology and how it fits into everyday life. Using technology itself, students discover new ways of approaching common problems while also developing life skills to tackle impending challenges that are expected to arise in the future as technology continues to evolve.
What Is EdTech?
EdTech is a portmanteau of education and technology. Essentially, all tools that combine tech learning strategies are considered EdTech, and this type of educational focus is being used more often as technology has become ubiquitous in modern society.
Additionally, technology tools for the classroom, including IT tools, have become more popular in recent years to prepare students for the labor market. Virtually all jobs these days involve some component of technology, and many careers are completely tech-centered.
Having a solid foundation in digital and connected technologies allows students to be prepared for success and keeps the United States competitive in the global market.
While the primary goal of EdTech is to educate students on technology while using technology, a secondary goal is to strengthen critical thinking skills in the digital era. Mechanical problem solving is still important, but logical approaches to digital problems are becoming more vital as industries are making the transition to networked technologies. This can be seen in virtually every industry, including the automotive industry, the financial industry and the manufacturing industry.
Tools That Combine Tech And Learning
Technology tools for the classroom may include computers and smart devices, but they may also involve programming languages, machine learning technologies and virtual reality or augmented reality devices. Each class or classroom may also provide access to different EdTech based on the subject of focus or the skill level of the classroom’s students.
Tech may be used to teach traditional subjects in new ways, but it may also be used to teach about technology development itself. Classes that are focused on network design or software engineering will need to utilize tech tools specific to the subject matter in order to demonstrate processes and allow for hands-on learning.
Remote technologies have also become very important and useful in the sphere of technological influence in modern education. Students and educators have new opportunities to connect online through video conferencing, virtual blackboard lessons and interactive and collaborative learning than ever before. These abilities not only benefit students and teachers due to their convenience, but they also open up the opportunity to use the very technologies through which learning takes place as teaching tools.
Designing And Developing New EdTech Tools
In the quest to design and develop new EDTech tools, educational technology jobs tend to be filled by professionals who have strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Skills and knowledge acquired through a STEM education can provide instructors with a foundation upon which to build and develop new technology tools for the classroom that are both current and engaging for the modern student.
Part of the challenge in designing and developing new EdTech tools is the pace at which technology moves. Using outdated technologies may lead students to fall behind, but budgetary constraints may not allow for purchases of the latest in technology to be implemented on a consistent basis.
As such, educators and those tasked with developing new teaching tools that combine education and technology must be aware of and strike a balance between keeping pace with technology and providing reasonable opportunities for learners.