How EdTech is Assisting to reduce Teacher’s Workload
Education technology has the capacity to assist teachers, in increasing what a teacher can accomplish in the course of a day’s work.
A generation ago, the scenario was different – as a teacher, if you were to make sure to cover curriculum according to pacing guides and best practices, you are doing a satisfactory job.
But now, with recent changes in education methodologies, teaching isn’t making it any easier, as students’ needs and society’s expectations have risen, and so have the demands placed on teachers’ shoulders.
Teachers today need to differentiate their learning instructions and patterns, via use of data-driven instructional practices, address students’ social and emotional challenges, close achievement gaps, and ensure that all students are prepared for the 21st century economy. It’s hard to imagine teachers measuring up to these goals just by getting better and working harder.
Technology has something to offer, fortunately, in the face of these challenges. Many common day-to-day uses of traditional classroom technology serve primarily only to enhance teachers’ existing lessons, but technology as a disruptor facilitating and encouraging online learning is facilitating to meet the many demands of teachers when it expands the frontiers of what they’re able to accomplish in a day.
How EdTech Affects Teaching Practices:
Edtech assists teachers in the following two ways:
- by enhancing what they do now, and
- by expanding what they’re able to do
First, technology enhances teachers’ current practices by increasing their instructional value or making them work more smoothly:
- Projector slides can enhance in teaching lessons with audiovisual elements such as diagrams, photos, and videos.
- Websites like Google, Teachers Pay Teachers, and IBM Teacher Advisor can help enhance learning lessons with materials and learning activities that are more engaging, pedagogically sound, or aligned with standards and student needs.
- Educational YouTube videos can enhance the edutainment in your classroom. Google Classroom can enhance your workflow by helping you bypass the copy room.
Second, technology can expand teachers’ capacity to implement new practices that would otherwise be challenging to adopt and maintain with traditional classroom environment:
- Human history is in part a story of new technologies that make new practices possible, beyond thinking. From the wheel to the steam engine to the supercomputer, these advanced technologies expand how people produce the goods of life and can utilize these technologies for making life more efficient.
- Food, clothing, housing, energy, and entertainment are all far more affordable and accessible than they were just a few generations ago, because technology has steadily pushed out the frontier of human productivity and thus options and choices too.
Technology now-a-days is playing a similar role for teachers by helping them use their time, attention, and energy in new ways, to make a substantially bigger difference for their students:
- Online learning technologies can adapt learning instructions to students’ individual learning needs, thereby expanding teachers’ capacity to offer differentiated learning.
- Adaptive software platforms can give teachers daily snapshots of students’ learning progress, thereby making data-driven instruction much more manageable, in an intuitive manner.
- And writing feedback software can provide automated feedback on the grammar and structure of students’ essays so that teachers can focus their feedback on higher-order elements of writing that often get shortchanged, such as reasoning, rhetoric, and style, and thus improving on students ability and capabilities in improving and performing better.
In blended learning instructional models, teachers can:
- create online videos to replace their lessons as lectures so that students can learn the foundational content for each unit in an independent, self-paced, mastery-based manner.
- With this shift, the teachers can spend more of their class time productively working directly with students.
- Many teachers also find that reallocating class time through blended learning expands their capacity for a host of other valuable learning activities—such as problem-based learning, project-based learning, or small group instruction—and creates more time for personal interactions that foster caring and supportive relationships, thus building a personal rapport which helps increasing moral support in students and building confidence in dealing with assessments and exams.
- These valuable teaching practices—differentiated instruction, data-driven instruction, higher-order feedback, mastery-based instruction, problem-based learning, project-based learning, small-group instruction, and relationship-building—predate most educational technologies. They don’t require technology, but technology can expand teachers’ capacity to adopt these practices in a manageable way.
Consider the following:
- Teacher Capacity
- Demands on Teacher Capacity
- Teacher Capacity with evolving technology
C is the superset of B which in turn is a further superset of A.
While enhancing and expanding can both be worthwhile ways to use edtech, yet expanding is often the road less traveled. When there is an existing system that already works and is successful, the work involved in adopting new practices rarely seems worth the cost. But many teachers are indeed working to expand their practices by trying those radical new approaches.
As an effective teacher:
- when do one find the time to sift through the overwhelming amount of edtech on the market and
- then learn a bunch of new evolving practices?
And given how technology can advance, it’s reasonable to be leery of investing time and efforts in tools that might not last longer.
For many teachers who are using technology to expand their teaching repertoire, looking back isn’t an option. This change takes a lot of work, but ultimately it lets teachers have more of the types of experiences with students that made them want to become teachers in the first place.
Furthermore, when teachers have spent years developing and honing current practices, it may seem like it doesn’t make sense to set them aside and try radically different approaches to teaching.
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