Making the Case for EdTech: What Administrators, Parents, and Students Should Know
A growing number of educators across America are embracing educational technology in the classroom—and loving the difference it makes for their students. In a survey by PBS, researchers found that 74 percent of teachers said technology allowed them to reinforce and expand on content, 73 percent found that edtech allowed them to meet a variety of learning styles, and 74 percent said edtech helped motivate students to learn. It comes as no surprise that 68 percent of the surveyed teachers wanted more technology in the classroom.
For other educators, however, edtech can be a harder sell. The high cost of new technology may be discouraging for administrators who need to manage the whole school’s budget, while students might be reluctant to face the learning curve of acclimating to a new device or software—particularly if they are already struggling to keep up academically. Moreover, families have their own concerns about technology in the classroom. Some may worry that their children are getting too much screen time, while others can’t provide internet access or computers at home.
Educators who are excited to introduce new edtech to their classrooms can address all of these concerns. Here are a few ways to help make the case for edtech to administrators, students, and families.
Administrators may be on board with the core concepts behind edtech but balk at the price tag. To make the case for edtech, focus on how helpful the technology will be to the students, and how edtech could even help save money down the road. If a type of software allows educators to deliver more personalized learning approaches to students, this can cut down on the cost of hiring assistants, creating enrichment activities, and hosting after-school study sessions. Also, show administrators how the current technology in the classroom helps students engage with the material and make new strides in their learning. Just like educators, administrators love to see the positive impact of edtech on their students.
Students who are already struggling to keep up with the academic curriculum might be reluctant to add yet another element to their day. New devices, programs, and test modules all take time to learn, which can add more confusion in an already challenging class. Remind students that using technology in the classroom is preparation for using technology in the real world. Their future workplace may introduce new software for tracking time cards, require workers to use new devices, or even develop applications to improve office efficiently. Use edtech as an opportunity to show how students can learn to become proficient in new types of technology—it’s a life skill they’ll need long after they graduate.
For parents who remember using calculators and typewriters, newer types of edtech can seem superfluous at best. With this in mind, show parents how new forms of edtech lead to new advancements in their children’s education. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing research at the library using good old-fashioned books, researching on the internet allows students to gain faster access to newer information. In the same way, using flash cards and whole-class games to review grammar rules can be effective, but personalized games and quizzes on the computer allow each student to focus on the exact concepts they need to review.
Other parents may be worried that students won’t be able to complete their homework if classrooms use technology that simply isn’t available in their own communities, or if key components of a class take place online. Educators can address these concerns by working with administrators to see what resources are available in the community. Some neighborhoods may have ready internet access at the library or a community center, and schools may even have programs that allow students to borrow tablets or computers for home use.
Although increasing edtech in the classroom may be cause for concern for some, educators can be key players in enumerating the benefits. Working with administrators, students, and families to address concerns leads to an education community that is more engaged in embracing edtech. At its core, edtech is designed to help educators meet the needs of all their students—and that’s a cause everyone can support.
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