Edtech Is Key to Personalizing Learning in the Modern Classroom
By allowing multiple approaches to the same tasks, edtech tools can better accommodate different learning styles and make it easier for teachers to connect with students both inside and outside the classroom.
“Personalized learning” may be a trending topic in K-12 education, but the truth is that it doesn’t represent much of a departure from traditional instructional approaches. As The Learning Accelerator Associate Partner Stephen Pham argues, “If we strip modern day personalized classrooms of technology, we’d find the same principles from Maria Montessori’s movement from the early 1900s.”
Despite ongoing debates on the topic, there really isn’t much disagreement about the idea that teachers should do their best to accommodate the unique needs of every student. Where educators do tend to disagree is on the question of how helpful educational technology (edtech) can be in accomplishing this goal.
While the effectiveness of any given piece of edtech depends on both the quality of the technology and the way it’s implemented, there’s no disputing that digital technology makes it easier to facilitate personalized learning in today’s classrooms. Edtech opens up multiple pathways to the same learning objectives, allowing students to overcome obstacles and absorb new skills in the way that seems most natural to them.
Edtech Allows for Greater Accessibility
Educators have long recognized that because each student’s skills, abilities, and personality is unique, his or her preferred methods of learning differ as well. Edtech helps open up possibilities for students who may struggle with traditional approaches to knowledge transfer. For example, a visual learner may struggle to absorb information from a lecture on the history of Ancient Rome, but thrive when given the opportunity to tour the city through a virtual reality headset.
What’s more, the 24/7 connectivity of the internet makes education a more immersive, accessible experience. Learning management systems provide students with access to educators outside the classroom, making it far easier for students who are unable to attend class to keep up with their work.
For students who struggle with organization, a single portal offering access to all the resources they need to look up, as well as the ability to do research and submit assignments can be immensely beneficial to their overall classroom performance.
Deployment Takes Buy-in and Support
The potential benefits of technologies like artificial intelligence, VR, and the Internet of Things are more or less self-evident. What many skeptics of edtech are concerned about is whether teachers will be willing or able to use edtech tools effectively in an instructional setting.
As far as the former concern goes, there’s substantial evidence that teachers are not just open to, but truly excited about, the possibility of more technology in the classroom. Research from DreamBox Learning and PBS has found that teachers overwhelmingly expect emerging edtech to improve learning outcomes. Meanwhile, edtech initiatives that are already underway are garnering similar levels of support, with roughly three in four educators agreeing that digital tools have made their jobs easier.
As for the question of teachers’ ability to use technology effectively, this comes down more to the support networks school districts are able to provide than to individual educators’ tech-savviness. The same DreamBox/PBS study found that at least half of all K-12 teachers fear that their districts aren’t able to give them the IT support they need to carry out upcoming edtech initiatives.
Fortunately, districts don’t need to stretch their tech support teams thin in an effort to back up their teachers — they can enlist the help Epiphany.
Epiphany gives educators total access to a team of IT experts around the clock, freeing up in-house staff to focus on more pressing priorities. While you tackle big-picture projects, our highly-skilled remote team of executives can ensure your teachers are able to make the best possible use of their edtech — and translate your investment into improved student outcomes.
Ultimately, technology in the classroom can make personalized learning a reality, but only if teachers use it effectively. Epiphany is here to help them do it.