Despite the name being somewhat misleading, this is often the right solution when we need to solve a problem. It was the building of this website! We were unable to find the right features, or how everything worked. It was difficult for us to figure out how it all worked. We were not computer programmers or web-based professionals so we had to do a lot of trial and error.
After all the frustrations of trying to create a functional site, it is still surprising that we have computers that work. I believe that if our friendship can overcome this feat, it will work also for you!
However, when it comes to new tech tools, there is often a lot of uncertainty and fear. It can seem overwhelming to constantly feel like you are learning new things and that instead of being the expert you have become the student. This is a necessary part of all learning opportunities.
What is educational technology and why should it matter?
EdTech, which is devoted to technology in education promotion, is something that many can see. This is true but it’s not enough. EdTech is defined as “facilitating learning and increasing performance by creating and using appropriate technological processes and materials.” But educators who use it are more familiar with the definition. EdTech is a way to transform traditional teaching methods and learn digitally. The difference, according to them, lies in the delivery of knowledge (thanks to technological innovation) to make teaching easier.
EdTech can be described as the process of integrating technology in education to create better teaching/learning experiences that lead to higher learning outcomes.
Many hospitals offer online safety courses that use animation to train new nurses.
Why Does It Matter?
EdTech has many advantages over traditional paper-and pencil teaching methods. Here are some benefits that EdTech has to offer, which you can easily find here.
Innovative Teaching Methods
Technology is an innovation of people, so when an educator uses technology to teach, it’s also innovative. EdTech gives teachers the ability to create multimedia that addresses a range of learning styles. This includes animation, live video, and more. EdTech allows teachers to create online courses so students can learn from home and at their own pace.
Collaboration can improve teaching
The internet has made it possible to keep everyone connected. Students and teachers can communicate, collaborate, and share ideas.
eLearning allows students to communicate and share information. Instead of spending 30 minutes in a classroom, listening to lectures and learning from teachers, eLearning students have the option to join an online platform or group and interact with their peers. This allows teachers to be more easily accessible and acts as mentors to students in order for them to grow. This collaborative learning method has helped bridge the gap between students, teachers, and mentors and also helps students to improve their interpersonal skills.
Teaching and Learning
EdTech is a way for teachers to teach online and offline. The best part about EdTech is that students don’t need to attend a certain class at a particular time. Instead, they can learn from anywhere and anytime. EdTech is a second way that students learn. EdTech makes learning fun and more exciting for students. Learning is more enjoyable when we are engaged. We learn faster, retain more information, and can apply our knowledge to everyday life. Finally, technology makes education more intelligent and more effective. It also helps learners meet their needs better. True educators are able to impart valuable knowledge to learners both in theory as in practice. Smart educators know how to create learning from the learners’ needs.
EdTech does NOT mean that teachers need to be IT experts. It is true, however, that teachers can accomplish these amazing feats only using technology. This is why EdTech is so important in every aspect of life.
My Learning Journey
I was just returning from three-month maternity leave when I began my educational journey with educational technology. In the span of eight months, I saw my colleagues move into a cloud-based world. Word and Excel had become obsolete. It was frightening. It was frightening.
These feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and frustration were exactly what I needed to make me realize that I must take the time to learn it all. I am forever grateful for that journey.
Tips/Strategies To Get Started
These are five key takeaways from my learning journey. These are tips and strategies you can use when working with a new tech tool.
1 – Be Comfortable With the Uncomfortable
Acknowledge the fact that this might not be an easy task. Accept that you may fail, and allow yourself to be frustrated. You will fail the first time you attempt something new.
2 – Explore the menus
You can relax your ego and spend a few minutes exploring the menus. You don’t have to know everything, but it’s okay not to panic. Simply take a deep, slow breath.
3 – Research On YouTube/Google
If you still feel overwhelmed, try YouTube videos or a simple Google search. You would be shocked at how many people have shared similar experiences and created resources to assist others.
4 – Find Tutorials
The app may have tutorials. Many tech tools offer tutorials and videos on how to use it.
5 – Your PLN can help you
You can search your professional network (PLN), which may contain reviews, suggestions, or links to other applications that are similar to the one you’re interested in. Sometimes it’s helpful to see how someone has used the app or tool. This will help you get a better understanding of the technology and its potential use.
The idea of learning by doing is a large part of how I got to where I am today. I spent hours in front of the screen, exploring formatting in Google Docs, learning how to use Gmail effectively, and trying to learn features that make my life and the lives of my students easier. I failed miserably at times and would seek out help from a colleague. However, my most meaningful learning was the constant attempts to figure everything out myself.
4 Quick Tools To Get You Started
Here are some tools that our team recommends you start with and the reasons why they are so beloved:
1 – G Suite (Docs, Slides, Sheets, Gmail, etc.)
This replaces Excel, Word and others. It’s very easy to migrate to the Google edition. Google offers many resources and tutorials to help you get the most out your GSuite. A whole teacher learning area is dedicated to teaching you how to use Google’s tools.
2 – Google Read & Write TextHelp
This extension is ideal for English Language Learners, ELLs and students with accommodation needs. It is easy to learn by just trying out the different features and playing around the extension. TextHelp has videos and tutorials which make this tool extremely easy to learn and very useful in supporting students.
3 – FlipGrid
This is a forum for video discussion. It gives students a voice and allows them the freedom to share their opinions with their peers. They can take videos of themselves and share them with their class. Flipgrid accessibility has seen a huge increase since Microsoft bought it. You can use closed captions. This is the microsoft version. Students can link their transcripts to text with video.
4 – Screencastify
This extension reduces stress and gives students the opportunity to display their learning in an entirely new way. It records your desktop, tabs, and/or uses your webcam to record. These recordings are saved on your Drive and can be easily shared. Screencastify automatically redirects you to an intro video once you have signed up. Here they will demonstrate how to use the different features. Easy to use and many uses for the classroom.
Take some time to play with the tool, and make mistakes.