Newest Features in EdTech
With technology constantly evolving, we must focus on using that technology to better the education system. Well, 2020 came with trying times, and new opportunities arose to find ways to improve the classroom. Although these features have made virtual learning more effective, hybrid schools that combine both in-class and virtual learning have seen the benefits.
Let’s check out the newest tools available to educators in edTech.
What is EdTech?
EdTech, or educational technology, combines software, computer hardware, and more with traditional education methods to improve learning. Many benefits come with making schooling more advanced and introducing children to technological tools for educational purposes.
Why is EdTech Important?
By creating a more inclusive, efficient, and engaging learning experience for each student, IT tools make a difference. If you want better student outcomes, enhanced educational opportunities, and to relieve teachers of caertain challenges, edtech is the way to go.
EdTech is changing the way schools function, like the robots that make learning fun to keep students engaged during classroom hours.
Blockchain tools and machine learning are now helping teachers by grading tests, ensuring that students are completing their homework.
What's New with EdTech?
Most new tools available in educational technology will be related to the new wave of virtual learning because of the pandemic. It became increasingly difficult to ensure that students were having effective school years if they were at home.
Google Meet and Zoom became the platforms that would assist teachers with continuing to educate students. However, the problem is that these platforms are not solely for education.
Today, we’ll focus on the four new innovative tools that have gained traction in edtech: Engageli, Class Technologies, InSpace, and Top Hat.
Here are the problems that edtech creations seek to resolve for parents, students, and teachers struggling with COVID restrictions:
Lack of engagement: students get distracted and bored when they stare at a computer screen for hours. In these situations, teachers can’t see this, nor can they address the problem.
Large class sizes: students don’t feel comfortable asking questions or talking to their peers through the monitor.
Overwhelmed: instructors are feeling more and more overwhelmed as they are trying to find ways to connect with their students.
No room for group work: unfortunately, virtual learning doesn’t leave much space for kids to participate or for group work. Without the physical presence of friends and teachers, students tend to be less engaged in the assignments.
Engageli helps facilitate group participation on assignments and projects:
Engageli allows professors to divide students into groups of 10 or fewer to work in unison on projects. Professors can conveniently and seamlessly come in and “sit at the table” to help anyone that may need it. They can also keep track of everyone as a whole.
Due to the smaller classrooms, professors can observe how all the students are fairing because they only have a small group to manage instead of an entire class.
Engageli even has a nifty study guide integrated into the platform itself. Using the platform’s program, students can screenshot slides and write specific notes on them. Moreover, these slides get hyperlinked, allowing students to return to the live recording where they can find the note.
Furthermore, Engageli has engagement features that are similar to Class. For example, there’s the option to give polls and quizzes and observe how students participate in groups and individually.
The platform is engineered with the way that students genuinely interact with one another in mind. More specifically, Engageli allows students to text each other individually or to text the entire class while work is in progress.
Additionally, students can even send the professor emojis expediently if they are confused about a subject matter and need clarification.
Using the already established Zoom platform, Class Technologies is building a better situation for educators. CT is for kindergarten through twelfth graders and even post-secondary education. The simple user interface is excellent for easy navigation to assist schools and teachers with smoother learning in class or at home.
Here are the new tools that come with Class Technologies:
- Orchestrating group discussions
- Taking student attendance
- Issuing quizzes
- Organizing a seating chart
- Monitoring student participation
- Giving assignments
CT lets teachers have virtual one-on-one conversations without disrupting the other students. It costs $10,000 a year for schools to integrate this technology into their curriculum. The prices can be higher or lower depending on how many students are in the class.
InSpace is a platform created by Dr. Marine Hall, a Machine learning and Data Science professor at Champlain College. Dr. Narine recalled in the spring that trying to do teamwork in the classroom was virtually impossible. So she decided to make a solution herself by coding one herself.
InSpace gives professors and students the freedom to move around a virtual classroom. They can adjust the audio settings as well as zoom in and out. That offers a much different experience than Zoom previously offered in fixed boxes.
Professors and students are in little circles with their photos. These circles can be clicked and conveniently dragged around to better participate in discussions and labs.
As they move closer to any individual or group, students can hear that group or person more clearly as if they were sitting right next to them. As they move away, the conversation fades away, allowing them to find other groups to interact with.
Top Hat doesn’t shy away from asynchronous content delivery. It also engages international learners across different time zones very well. No one wants to fixate on a screen and then have the misfortune of having to show up later at a time that was previously pre-prescribed.
It is expected that when COVID is behind us that universities all around the country will use the hybrid model: Universities will invest in the direction and experience that students can get in-person and then utilize online tools to enhance in-person learning.
Top Hat interactively digitizes textbooks by utilizing interactive graphics and polls that are planted within the text. Additionally, the company has a complementary product called Community.
Community is a virtual meeting place for students and teachers to meet to discuss assignments. There are even one on one channels to facilitate private conversations.
EdTech is making strides to accommodate both schools and families with the current circumstances. While it is challenging, these tools make it easier to adjust and make the transition.
Hopefully, as schools can open up and accept students in physical classrooms, edtech tools bring about vast improvements to encourage effective learning.