Rethinking EdTech: How to Overcome Roadblocks and Increase Student Opportunity through Technology

Post Date: 02/04/2015
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I recently wrote an article for Education Dive discussing technology issues that are present amongst all levels of education and sharing some best practices for quick wins.

Education technology (EdTech) has without a doubt increased in popularity among teachers within the past few years. According to a 2013 study conducted by Harris Interactive, 86 percent of surveyed teachers believe it is “important” or “absolutely essential” to use EdTech in the classroom. A majority of participants listed increased student engagement, personalized learning, improvement in student outcomes, and student collaboration as EdTech benefits.

Despite the advancements made by technology developers to introduce new EdTech tools to US classrooms, there are still quite a few issues to overcome to ensure sustainable adoption. Below are some of what I consider to be “roadblocks in EdTech” and a few best practices for schools looking at building up their technology portfolio.

EdTech Roadblocks

  1. Lack of Consistent Platforms: With a plethora of platforms – including Dropbox, Google for Education, Microsoft Office 365, and Box – available for free or a small fee, it is simple for a teacher to incorporate one of these platforms into their classes. But what happens when the student leaves that grade? Their work stays on that platform.
  2. Adapting Enterprise Software to Education: Despite being designed for enterprise use, technology such as Microsoft Office, Box, Microsoft SharePoint, and Jive are often integrated into the classroom. Although helpful in some respects, these are all built with business in mind, leaving gaps between what is needed and what is available for schools.
  3. Security of Student Records: If news headlines are any indication of the public’s concern, security is at the top of the list. From credit card breaches to identity fraud, your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is at risk with every online interaction. These horror stories have caused backlash against placing student records in the cloud.
  4. Promoting Collaboration among Students: Socialization is a key aspect of attending school. From group projects to extracurricular activities, students spend a vast majority of their time interacting with one another. Despite this increased focus on socialization, schools often condemn the social aspect of technology.

Best Practices for EdTech Implementation

  • Adopt a common platform: The solution of your choosing should be applicable across an entire district or town in order to ensure consistency.
  • Understand where students spend the most time: Consider how often your students work in groups, participate in extracurricular activities, and request help from their peers when choosing the appropriate technology.
  • Embrace an open platform and BYOD: Rather than banning smartphones within school walls, consider how you can adapt these devices to benefit learning.
  • Find an internal sponsor or champion: Remember to start small – a successful implementation does not begin on a grand scale. Pick one school, grade level, or classroom to test the technology.

To read more about implementing an effective EdTech strategy, please visit Education Dive.

For information on how AvePoint is helping educational organizations enable better collaboration among faculty, staff, and students, please visit the case study page on our website.

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