directprint.io at BETT2019

For those new to EdTech, ‘EdTech’ is education technology, where the application of tools, including software and hardware, is used to enhance student learning.

Here at directprint.io we spend a lot of time talking to educators and IT admins in the Education domain. We exhibit at EdTech conferences such as BETT and ISTE and are constantly amazed by the advances in EdTech that we see.

EdTech has hugely impacted teaching and teaching methods in the last 15-20 years, and shows every sign of continuing it’s bewildering growth.

I have sympathy for teachers in 2019; not only are they constantly assessed on the academic progress of their students, but from visiting BETT at the London Excel this year, they’re also expected to be experts in robotics, drone technology, augmented and virtual reality…. the list goes on.

Core skills – literacy and numeracy remain the cornerstone but it’s becoming more and more apparent that students nowadays are encouraged to think independently and embrace their natural curiosity.

This is where EdTech can make a life-changing difference.

For some students the gap between academic study and real-world application is huge, I suppose it’s the relevance gap.

Let’s take one of this year’s hot EdTech subjects ROBOTS as an example.

At BETT 2019 robots were everywhere; small ones, tall ones, spinning, walking, crawling, flying, taking, dancing robots. You couldn’t move on the show floor without bumping into a robot.

Used to aid the curriculum, Robots can be a great relevance gap filler.

Whether the underlying fundamental skill is points on the compass, trigonometry or units of measure, making a robot move from A-B can bring degrees and radians, centimetres and ‘head South-West’ to life. And that’s just the beginning.

But it seems that we are asking a lot of our educators:

  1. To identify the relevant, cost-effective EdTech
  2. Upskill themselves on using the technology in the classroom
  3. Complement the right curriculum points with the right ed-Tech
  4. … and to include this in an already tightly packed schedule

So, what EdTech tools are currently selling well and how can teachers identify whether or not they’re going to improve learning in the classroom?

Here are just some EdTech examples:

  • ROBOTS ! and single board computers (RPi, Arduino etc).
  • Cloud computing /online docs/sheets/slides such as Google Classroom.
  • Mobile learning apps and learning analytics
  • Gamification i.e. online quizzes
  • VR & AR & wearable tech
  • 3D printing
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Marking/grading apps for teachers

A great way teachers can identify whether or not the technology is worth the investment, is to ask themselves some of the following questions:

  • Will it excite the student? EdTech offers students a new visual form of learning, often one which is more exciting and visually appealing. Students are more likely to absorb information when they’re taking part in new experiences so make sure you’re purchasing something they’ll find fun as well as educational. Does it fit the curriculum well?
  • Will it reduce my workload? The development of marking apps is a great example of how EdTech can benefit the teacher, as well as the student. Try to find a tool that will help you evaluate your student’s work more effectively, giving you more time to plan lessons and play to your strengths – i.e. teaching (not marking!).
  • Will it help me personalize my teaching? Your class will have student’s of all different abilities so it’s important that the tech you buy helps you to personalize their education experience. Think about how your class responds to certain teaching techniques and select EdTech tools that will help you deliver these methods.
  • Will it encourage teamwork? EdTech can often facilitate collaboration amongst peers as they work together to problems online or interactively. Students embrace a social, cooperative learning environment and are more likely to give open feedback when working together.

EdTech is undoubtedly useful in filling the relevance gap for some students and is becoming commonplace in the classroom. We hope that teachers have the time and funding to embrace EdTech to select tooling, practices and technology that works for them, their curricula and their students.

Our mission at directprint.io is to make student printing more manageable. We hope that helps teachers in some small way…

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