It is recommended that the workshop provider go through the steps on his or her own prior to the workshop and have a basic grasp of the technology used. Activity One: Digital Storytelling The purpose of this activity is to give workshop participants a chance to experiment with various grade- and subject-appropriate digital tools that will. 12 free online course sites for growing your tech skills The cost of learning just got cheaper. Here are twelve free online resources for learning today’s leading technology skills. Open Educational Resources. Best Sources for Free Digital Textbooks and More. To help your students reduce the cost of their education, begin with open educational resources. Many of these textbooks won't cost them anything. By Dian Schaffhauser; 03/25/19.
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- This is where lists such as the one below come in handy. They offer teachers and educators with meticulously curated content that can help them access the best EdTech resources and transform their teaching practice. Now that we have turned to online education, the need for reliable EdTech resources is even more pressing.
- Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate and responsible behavior with regard to technology use. Mike Ribble, author of Digital Citizenship in Schools and The International Society for Technology (ISTE) highlight the follow 9 key elements while learning about connecting and interacting through digital means.
How does technology impact student learning? Some postsecondary educators view technology as a distraction in the classroom. Even if they don’t ban the use of mobile phones or social media during class, they may begrudgingly view technology as a little more than a necessary evil.
But rather than simply ‘tolerate’ it, instructors can harness the power of digital devices, apps and tools to increase engagement, encourage collaboration, spark innovation and enhance student learning.
In and of itself, educational technology doesn’t result in effective teaching and learning. It still requires a guide (the educator) and a purpose (related to the curriculum). And it does require some effort and strategies to integrate it effectively into your course material. But, if used with intention, technology can be transformed from a distraction to an effective teaching tool.
Here are a few answers to the question of how technology impacts student learning, and reasons why educators should make the most of technology inside—and outside—the classroom.
Technology affords better access to resources
With an Internet connection, we have access to information at our fingertips 24 hours a day. We can find almost anything online, in its most up-to-date version. For students, this means access to everything from research materials and educational apps to interactive edutainment and open resources from prestigious universities around the world. They may, however, need instruction on how to find credible resources and direction on providing proper attribution when they use them.
Students can also supplement their learning by connecting with online groups and virtual communities in real time, or by collaborating on group projects with tools such as wikis and cloud-based apps. And instructors can provide access to course material (and additional resources) by setting up portals through learning management systems or providing access to course-specific software for each learner. Blended learning — a mixture of classroom technology and face-to-face learning—is a popular way of organizing this.
Technology can improve student engagement
Education technology can make learning more interactive and collaborative—and this can help students better engage with course material. Rather than memorizing facts, they learn by doing. This could be as simple as taking an interactive quiz in class or participating in tech-enabled group discussions or as involved as playing educational games, practicing science experiments in a virtual lab or taking a virtual field trip.
But to make it truly engaging, it must be truly interactive. Doing math on a computer isn’t any different than doing math with a pencil and pad of paper. But using augmented reality to animate math challenges is a whole different ballgame. For some students, interactivity provides a better learning experience.
For teachers, the possibilities are endless: from using simulation tools to demonstrate how a hurricane develops, to using virtual reality to practice medical procedures. “As a growing number of medical schools bring virtual reality into the classroom, students are finding it an effective way to learn complex subject matter, such as anatomy, that’s often easier to understand with hands-on practice,” writes1 Chris Hayhurst for EdTech Magazine.
Technology can expand classroom boundaries
Thanks to technology, the classroom no longer has walls. The learning environment no longer has boundaries. And instruction can be provided by any number of subject matter experts—in addition to the person teaching the course.
“Students in a classroom in the rural U.S., for example, can learn about the Arctic by following the expedition of a team of scientists in the region, read scientists’ blog posting, view photos, e-mail questions to the scientists, and even talk live with the scientists via a videoconference. Students can share what they are learning with students in other classrooms in other states who are tracking the same expedition,” according to an article2 on technology in education by Purdue University.
Technology can encourage self-paced learning
In a traditional classroom, students who were struggling to learn new concepts would quickly fall behind their peers. With online assignments, however, students can advance at their own pace. Those who need more time or extra help can practice outside of class with guided exercises or additional coursework. So, too, can learners who want more of a challenge.
Thanks to the always-on nature of technology, students can access resources online whenever they need to, and instructors can see which students might need extra help. The exercise of self-paced learning also helps students learn digital literacy and 21st century skills, which will be useful when they enter the workforce.
Technology can promote innovative teaching techniques
Technology changes the way we access information, but also how we’re taught that information. The instructor becomes less of a ‘sage on stage’ and more of a ‘guide on the side.’ From accessing course materials online to watching video-recorded lectures, technology opens up the possibility for teaching innovation: from collaborative group work to flipped and hybrid classrooms. Instructors can also use classroom response systems to assess students’ understanding of course material and adjust the pace or content as needed in real time.
How does technology impact student learning? A summary
While technology is sometimes seen as a threat—and it does have its limits—integrating it into your teaching practice offers a new way for students to interact and engage with course material. Thanks to technology, education is no longer confined to the walls of your classroom. YouTube videos and social media don’t have to be a distraction; they can be part of your course material. The math is easy: it adds up to better learning outcomes.
- Hayhurst, C. (2017, February 15). Medical Students Practice Critical Skills on Digital Cadavers. Retrieved from https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/02/medical-students-practice-critical-skills-digital-cadavers
- How Has Technology Changed Education? (2017, April 25). Retrieved from https://online.purdue.edu/ldt/learning-design-technology/resources/how-has-technology-changed-education
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The 5 Most Effective Educational Technology Interventions
There is enormous interest and investment in the potential of educational technology (ICT4Edu) to improve the quality of teaching and learning in low and lower-middle income countries. The primary aim of the DfID-funded Educational Technology Topic Guide is to contribute to what we know about the relationship between edtech and educational outcomes.
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Taking evidence from over 80 studies, the guide addresses the overarching question: What is the evidence that the use of ICT4Edu, by teachers or students, impacts teaching and learning practices, or learning outcomes? It also offers recommendations to support advisors to strengthen the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes that use edtech.
Educational technology was defined as the use of digital or electronic technologies and materials to support teaching and learning. Recognising that technology alone does not enhance learning, evaluations must also consider how programmes are designed and implemented, how teachers are supported, how communities are developed and how outcomes are measured.
And while the Millennium Development Goals prompted improvements in access to education, quality remains a challenge. This issue is also reflected in edtech programmes.
Research reports of programmes that move beyond access to technology (both in programme design and evaluation) are emerging, but as yet relatively few programme evaluations focus on adequately capturing improvements in the teaching and learning process or measuring improvements in learning outcomes or digital literacy. The findings below are drawn from those that do.
Educational Technology for Students
Among the studies reviewed, the strongest evidence of changes in learning outcomes and classroom practice came from the use of mobile devices (such as eReaders) and CAL programmes to support improvement in mathematics:
- eReaders and tablets to support early literacy.
Several programmes presented evidence of improved learning outcomes (in terms of increased reading fluency in the mother tongue or English) that combined provision of eReaders and eBooks for students with TD programmes on phonics-based literacy instruction (Worldreader, 2012, 2013; Murz, 2011; USAID, 2013; PRIMR, 2013).
- Remedial CAL programmes in mathematics.
Although CAL programmes in maths as a replacement for regular teaching were found to have limited impact (Banerjee et al., 2007, p. 1,240) or lower learning outcomes (Linden, 2008, p. 26), there is some evidence of improved learning outcomes from remedial CAL programmes as supplements for under-privileged students (Banerjee et al., 2007, p. 1,238) or under-performing students (Lai et al., 2011).
In addition, several studies presented evidence of students working more independently and collaboratively using online or offline digital resources to support project work. This was usually in the context of a teacher development programme, with clear curricular and pedagogic focus (for example: Light, 2009; Were et al., 2009; Leach et al., 2005).
Educational Technology for Teachers
The following uses of edtech by teachers were associated with positive changes in learning outcomes and classroom practice:
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- Interactive radio instruction (IRI).
Several studies reported positive impacts on learning outcomes from IRI, particularly with early primary students. A World Bank review showed average effect sizes of +0.5 (World Bank, 2005, p. 16), while a subsequent review found effect sizes ranging from -0.16 to +2.19 (Ho & Thrukal, 2009). The variability in effectiveness was attributed to factors including quality of programme implementation, monitoring, and local human resources. The greatest effect sizes were seen at Grade 1, suggesting IRI is particularly effective for early primary years.Improvements in classroom practice from IRI were evidenced by two studies in which IRI was used in the context of teacher professional development.Sous le Fromager in Guinea supplemented IRI with radio programmes for school staff and face-to-face professional development to instill respectful behaviour of teachers towards students. Qualitative classroom observations suggest teachers hit students less often and allowed more time for students to develop understanding (Burns, 2006, p. 9). Similarly, an IRI programme in Mali supplemented IRI with radio-based, in-service training. Systematic classroom observations showed year- on-year improvements in the percentage of observed lessons demonstrating select classroom practices (e.g. brainstorming, group work, total physical response) (Ho & Thrukal, 2009, p. 10).
- Mobiles for classroom audio and teacher development videos.
Several studies arising from one programme (English in Action [EIA], Bangladesh) reported positive impacts from mobile use on English language teaching (ELT) practices and student learning outcomes. EIA is primarily a teacher development (TD) programme. The approach has some similarities to IRI, in that mobile phones provide access to audio resources for classroom use, particularly for primary teachers. Mobiles are also used to provide access to TD materials, including videos of classroom practice, which underpin the programme. Materials are not broadcast, or downloaded, but provided as a library of digital resources, on a small memory card.Several large-scale systematic observations of classroom practice (EIA, 2011b, 2012b, 2014b) showed significant increases in students’ talk time (including talk in pairs and groups), and students’ and teachers’ use of English (the target language), compared with baseline studies (EIA, 2009). Associated improvements in student learning outcomes were also evidenced, most recently with 35% more primary students achieving Grade 1 or above, and 20% more primary achieving Grade 2 or above, on recognized international frameworks of English language competence (Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE), Trinity College London, 2013, which map onto the Common European Framework of Reference, Trinity College London, 2007, EIA, 2014b).
- Mobiles for classroom video.
The BridgeIT programme (India and Tanzania) provided evidence of improved learning outcomes from teachers’ use of smartphones to play video lessons for their classes via flat-screen TVs or data-projectors. Teachers also had activity guides to support or extend the video lessons.In Tanzania, students showed average gains of 10–20% over control groups for maths and science.However, while some groups of students excelled, others showed modest gains if any (Enge, 2011). In India, there were average gains of 10% over control groups for science, but no gains for English (Wennerstan & Qureshy, 2012). BridgeIT also carried out systematic classroom observations pre- and post-intervention in India. These showed a 31% increase in the proportion of lessons identified as ‘high quality’, with a corresponding 24% drop in the proportion of (traditional) ‘direct instruction’ lessons (Wennerstan & Qureshy, 2012, p. 32).
In the context of enormous global challenges to improve the quality of education, particularly in low to lower- middle income countries, governments, donors, schools and communities often seek to explore or exploit the potential of edtech. The studies reviewed for this guide provided some compelling examples of evidence that this potential can be realized, to produce educationally significant impacts on practice and outcomes.
In particular, there is some evidence that mobile technologies (radios, mobile phones, and tablets) – used for curriculum-specific purposes in a context of appropriate support – can be particularly effective. There is also tentative evidence that such approaches may contribute to addressing issues of equity, in relation to gender and rurality.
Overall, effective educational technology programmes are characterised by a clear and specific curriculum focus, the use of relevant curriculum materials, a focus on teacher development and pedagogy, and evaluation mechanisms that go beyond outputs.
- Edtech programmes should focus on enabling educational change, not delivering technology. In doing so, programmes should provide adequate support for teachers and aim to capture changes in teaching practice and learning outcomes in evaluation.
- Advisors should support proposals that further develop successful practices or that address gaps in evidence and understanding.
- Advisors should discourage proposals that have an emphasis on technology over education, weak programmatic support or poor evaluation.
- In design and evaluation, value-for-money metrics and cost-effectiveness analyses should be carried out.
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