At the beginning of the New Year you may have set yourself a number of goals – whether that is personally or professionally! Is one of them to look at ways to be more innovative in your teaching and learning practice?
There was a time when traditionalist teaching of blackboards, chalk and textbooks was the everyday life of teachers, and I remember in the early stages of my career thinking about getting into school well before the students and other teachers to ensure I had time to draw my diagrams and to locate textbooks or worksheets.
However those days are long gone – the evolution of technology in life requires us to not only move with the times personally but ensure that we are exploring how education is delivered to young people.
The Guardian stated that schools now spend £900m on education technology every year, and it is estimated the global market will be worth £129bn by 2020. That’s all very well but what does that mean for teachers?
Truthfully I feel it is a difficult time – there is a massive push of developing digital skills in young people, there is a new product or initiative released every week so whilst planning, teaching, organising resources, sorting cover, managing behaviour, doing reports, marking work etc etc you are meant to find time to explore new edtech products?
You and I know how hard it is – even if you do find something that looks great and is the right fit for you – you then have to source the budget! It all seems like an uphill struggle, right? But the fascinating things is you!!! You teachers do all of this and so much more to provide the right opportunities for the students you teach. So firstly I want to you to actually realise and remember how amazing you are!! Not everybody can do what you are doing!!
I hear a lot of ed tech companies talk about how it is difficult to talk to teachers and then problems they face when getting hold of them – and to be honest many a time I have said – Do you know what it is like to be a teacher just for one lesson? Exactly!!! Anyway enough rambling …
The main point is this blog is to look at evaluating and choosing what to use and how to go about this. As with everything in teaching one size doesn’t not fit all.
So what is Ed tech ?
Well it stands for Educational Technology – it can mean anything from hardware to software, apps, games, computing devices …..The list goes on! So simply I think it is technology or digital tools that can be used in educational establishments.
Choosing suitable technology for our students has always got to be centred around two main points in my opinion
- The needs of the students
- The needs of the teacher and institution
It is easy to shy away and to think that the students are working well and they are achieving the results required or there abouts – We need to make sure that we maintain what we are doing! And rightly so! Our jobs depends on it!
The truth it is challenging to identify and change what has always been done especially when we are talking about progress and needs of our students. The fear of the unknown can be crippling to innovation and moving forward which will inherently may ensure enhanced progress for all.
So firstly challenge yourself to take the step to explore what you, your students and institution needs and then break it down to see what is out there that may be able to help. Many companies are more than happy to help you explore what is suitable because it is a learning experience for them and they know of what else is out there that maybe be more suitable for you. Not everyone is selling you something always the value you give ed tech companies is of great significance – believe me! So talk to people.
The next thing is to explore facebook pages, ed tech magazines, blogs and BESA to find out more about what may be suitable, what support goes along side the technology and explore how the company is trying to make teaching easier and more manageable.
Now this is all fine but the next thing you need to think about what can your school afford! Regardless what anyone says schools budgets are diminished and it is difficult but I can also assure you it is not impossible! (I can hear many teachers saying you don’t know what it is like in my school but I still know where there is a will there is a way!!) ( We have lots of ideas around this – so get in touch!)
Finally you will also need to look at the current infrastructure of your school IT system – what devices, laptops, and/or desktops you have. Will your chosen technology need Wifi? And one of the most overlooked issues is how to implement in a staged and managed way – but I think that is another blog in itself!
At Kapture8 with over 14 years of teaching experience, working as a consultant for education and industry as well as being part of a successful senior management team we are happy to help you! Get in touch with us at [email protected]