Technology in the classroom continues to transform the way that teachers teach and students learn. Simple techniques such as incorporating videos into learning or making lectures available online are already breaking down barriers when it comes to different learning styles, teaching students from a distance, and more. When teachers incorporate additional edtech such as gaming, online learning platforms, and other e-learning tools, they can transform their classrooms and learning plans while keeping students engaged and interested in learning.
Edtech doesn’t just enhance current curriculums, though; it can help students learn essential real-life skills. While more students graduate today prepared with English, math, and science skills, some valuable real-life skills continue to go overlooked. From balancing a checkbook to understanding elements of nutrition, time management, and even how to work as a member of a group, edtech can help to bridge the gap between the classroom and real life. With the help of technology, students can be better prepared to get their first job, raise a family, and navigate the world independently.
The value of edtech
Edtech and e-learning are valuable additions to any classroom. Students naturally love e-learning, which closely connects with their own digital lives at home. Using games in the classroom gives students a chance to play while still actively learning, and short videos are entertaining enough to keep students’ attention, making for another efficient and effective information delivery model. Students who learn better by engaging with their lessons receive valuable interaction time with edtech, helping them to better understand and retain the information presented.
Blended learning gives teachers the opportunity to incorporate edtech in their classrooms while still retaining some of the traditional classroom format. Teachers can use technology to solve current problems they’re facing in the classroom, such as how to balance lessons in a classroom where students learn at a variety of different paces. Using readily available online lessons can help busy teachers to save time while introducing new learning opportunities to the class.
The increasing development and use of edtech may also transform the physical classroom. Online learning offers flexibility in terms of both schedule and location, and more colleges and even high schools are exploring the benefits that online learning can offer outside of the physical classroom. Additionally, technology means students can learn at their own pace, allowing for accelerated learning and freedom from having to sit inside a classroom daily. When used to teach real-life skills, it’s easy to see how edtech can transform education for the better.
How edtech can teach life navigation skills
Every adult needs real-life navigation skills such as making wise financial decisions, staying healthy, and even protecting oneself from cyber hackers, but these skills aren’t taught in most schools. Edtech can effectively teach these and other life navigation skills.
Technology in the classroom can also help to teach students life skills such as how to select an appropriate diet, make healthy choices, and implement an exercise schedule. Teachers and schools can address childhood obesity using technology, such as videos, games, apps, activity trackers, and more. For example, the Zombies, Run! app assigns players physical missions to complete in order to run away from zombies, crafting a storyline as kids progress through the tasks. For football fans, the game NFL Play 60 encourages kids to spend an hour of activity with their favorite football player. During the game, kids will run, turn, jump over obstacles, and other physical activities.
Students also need to develop financial knowledge and skills. Simulation games, apps, and other tools can help students to acquire a better understanding of finances. Younger children ages 5 to 10 can learn about saving money through the app, World of Cents. They’ll also get some practice in basic math skills as they save up to build a virtual playground. For middle school and high school students, Gen i Revolution is a free online game that teaches players about budgeting, credit, and other longer-term wealth-building strategies. With increased knowledge about how things like loans and credit work, students will be better prepared to make smart financial decisions, such as whether it’s better to buy or lease a car.
How edtech can teach professional skills
In addition to learning the real-life skills they’ll need for day-to-day life, students also need to learn professional skills that will help them to get and keep a job. Videos, apps, and online learning platforms can teach students the ins and outs of writing a resume and cover letter, and of navigating a job interview.
Through technology, students can also develop skills that they’ll use in their careers. Time management, leadership, flexibility, and the ability to work as a member of a team are all vital skills that many students will need. Using technology also helps students to develop their communication skills and to learn how to effectively communicate through emails. When students work independently with technology, they develop responsibility, self-motivation, and other important skills that will serve them well in any profession.
By using technology in their daily lives as well as in their education, students will learn important lessons about troubleshooting devices, navigating the internet, and managing online account security. With stolen usernames and passwords a major security threat, teaching students how to keep themselves safe online is a lesson that they can apply to their professional careers, as well. Students who plan to move into a career in cybersecurity can particularly benefit from knowledge about potential technology security risks, as well as security precautions.
All in all
Technology isn’t just changing the face of education, it’s allowing teachers to prepare students with essential real-life skills that they will use in their daily lives and in their careers.
Charlie Fletcher is a writer and former preschool teacher from the lovely “city of trees”, Boise, Idaho. When not writing, she can be found exploring the great outdoors or geeking out over the latest Game of Thrones fan theories.