Several misconceptions are prevalent in society about the role of technology in education. While there are a few challenges in adopting EdTech, these can be easily overcome with proper planning. Here, we’ll discuss the popular myths about technology in education and debunk them.
The EdTech industry has been growing rapidly in the past few years. The Covid-19 pandemic caused the EdTech industry to boom. In fact, it was the most funded start-up sector in India, with a funding of $4.73 billion. The global EdTech market is valued at $254.8 billion, with the corporate education technology industry being valued at $22.5 billion.
According to Global Newswire, the EdTech industry is expected to touch $605.8 billion by 2027. The same company also reported that the LMS (learning management systems) market will reach $42 billion by 2027. There’s no denying the use of technology in education and its growing importance in the future.
However, many myths and false statements float in the market, leading to hesitation, confusion, and resistance. In this blog, we attempt to bust the myths around technology in education and present a clear picture of EdTech and its prominence in the industry.
What Is Technology in Education?
Education technology is the use of technology and IT tools to develop a flexible, engaging, and customized learning experience. It combines software tools and modern teaching methodologies to create an inclusive and holistic classroom where the learning process is student-centric. From 3D technology to VR headsets, LMS systems, and assessment tools, technology in education is varied and implemented on multiple levels.
As per a report by Eric.ed.gov, close to 60% of parents (with kids in K-12 grades) believe that integrating technology into classroom education is a good way to help kids learn. In fact, more than 80% of parents consider technology important for their children’s education. Another study highlighted that gamification of assessments improved performance and results by up to 60%.
The ultimate aim is to reduce the workload on teachers, optimize the use of resources for educational institutions, and enhance the learning experience in students.
Common Myths of Technology in Education
Though the statistics are encouraging, people are still wary of technology in education and its negative effects. So, what are the myths about technology in education? Let’s find out and debunk them.
1. Smartphones Are Not for Learning
Education and learning are not the first things that come to mind when we think of smartphones. Most kids love to play games on mobile phones, which makes parents doubtful about the role of these devices possess as potential learning tools. However, the pandemic has proved to be otherwise.
Many students with limited resources relied on smartphones to attend online classes. This was especially common in rural India, where students could listen to online lessons on a smartphone. Moreover, the smartphone makes it easy to access educational videos, games, etc., that help with learning. Playing and learning can co-exist on smartphones.
2. Teachers Have to be Physically Present
Many parents feel that students learn well only when the teacher is physically present in the classroom. However, the last few years have shown that traditional classroom teaching doesn’t have much flexibility or personalization. The teaching methodology may not be suitable for every student in the classroom.
EdTech creates the necessary space to adjust the teaching methods based on students’ learning abilities. The combination of technology and data sciences makes it feasible to create learning modules for each student. Teaching can be impactful irrespective of whether teachers are in the classroom or on the other side of the screen.
3. Students Should be Constantly Monitored
Traditional classrooms have turned learning into a chore where students have to obey instructions. This makes them prone to distractions, especially if the teaching technique or the subject is uninteresting. However, this isn’t the case with hybrid/ blended learning.
When learning becomes interactive, students will automatically pay attention. They don’t have to be monitored and cautioned to be attentive. For example, students will be excited to learn when subjects like history are taught using 3D graphics or virtual tours.
4. eLearning is Lonely
It may seem like kids are isolated and sit with their laptops/ computers and headphones to learn. However, eLearning offers great opportunities for kids to interact with others. Not only do students talk to teachers and their friends but they also have a chance to meet other students from different parts of the world. This is possible through online quizzes.
Gamification of courses and tests makes learning interactive and engaging. Students form virtual teams to participate in debates, quizzes, contests, and much more. eLearning doesn’t have to isolate kids from others.
5. Technological Presence in Classrooms is Distracting
Many parents and teachers feel that allowing smartphones and tablets in classrooms will distract students from learning. However, the reality is not black and white. Firstly, the tablets allotted to students will have limited features as their primary role is to act as a means to impart education. Secondly, students can be distracted by something as simple as a pencil or an eraser.
The responsibility is on the teachers to manage classrooms and make lessons interesting. When teachers seamlessly incorporate the use of smartphones and tablets into classroom learning, there will be no chances of distraction.
6. Children Become too Dependent on Technology
We live in a technology-dominant world where smartphones are an extension of humans. Children have to use technology one day or another. By starting early, they will be better equipped to handle real-life challenges and prove themselves ready to make the most of the opportunities that come their way.
Also, it is the educator’s responsibility to teach the pros and cons of technology so that children learn to use the tools wisely and protect themselves. Schools can include online safety in their curriculum. Furthermore, children who use technology for learning may voluntarily want to limit their screen time and try other hobbies/ interests.
7. eLearning Adds More Burden on Students
People think that eLearning implies additional learning material apart from textbooks, workbooks, etc., which can put extra pressure on students. However, that’s not the case. The content from textbooks is converted to video lessons with interactive features. This actually makes it easier for students to learn. They don’t have to mug up pages of text. Instead, they can understand the core concepts and strengthen their foundation.
eLearning doesn’t burden students. It increases the engagement rate and makes it easy for students to recollect what they have learned. Furthermore, children will learn to plan their schedule and allot time for studies, projects, games, and relaxation. It helps them become systematic in their approach to life.
Benefits of Technology in Education
- Hybrid learning styles for greater personalization
- Clear Communication between teachers & students
- Higher student engagement
- Collaboration between students
- Preparing children for the future
How to Get Started with Using Technology in Classrooms?
While technology is effective and useful in classrooms, it can also give rise to unwanted complications if the school doesn’t have a proper plan. It’s vital to understand which technology is useful for students and teachers and how to use it correctly. For example, using technology to deliver a boring presentation will be of no use as students will still be uninterested in the topic. Here, technology is helpful if the teaching methodology or approach to the topic is changed to make it more appealing.
How vs. What
How teachers use technology is as important as what is taught using the tools. Any technology that makes students learn by rote should be avoided. Invest in EdTech tools that encourage students to think on their own. Classroom technology should nudge students to be more creative and use their logic to make decisions or solve problems. The tools should also provide means for students to learn from each other.
For example, Kahoot! facilitates gamification of lessons. Storybird is a tool for preschool kids that converts their ideas into audiovisual content and stories. Prodigy is a math app for students to learn the subject in interesting ways. The app can be used for classroom math-based activities too. It makes students consider math a fun subject instead of fearing it.
Using technology in classrooms is not limited to student learning. It can reduce the pressure on teachers by automating recurring tasks. Classroom management software can handle tasks like creating and distributing assignments, rating students’ performance in tests, and generating analytical reports about each student’s progress during the year.
Similarly, PrepAI is an artificial intelligence-based question generator tool that converts input content into different types of questions (MCQs, true/ false, fill-ups, and descriptive questions) in a couple of clicks. The Bloom’s Taxonomy algorithm used by PrepAI ensures that the questions measure the analytical and decision-making skills of students.
Combine Technology with Interests
Another important way to include EdTech tools in classrooms is by allowing students to explore the tool and come up with different ways to use it. Teachers can assign projects where students use technology to work on their ideas or interests. One way to do this is to plan a session or two where students explore technology in the classroom but for non-academic stuff. A student can build a game using no-code tools. Another student can make a video about their favorite topic and present it at the end of the session.
Educational institutions should take time to discuss how they want to use EdTech tools to enhance the quality of learning and make sure that the technology they choose offers long-term benefits.
Now that we have explained the myth vs. facts of technology in education, it’s time to emphasize the need for training teachers to use the EdTech tools in classrooms. Digital literacy in teachers minimizes mistakes in adopting technology in education.
Schools also should determine the EdTech tools they want to integrate into their processes. Choosing the right EdTech tools will make a world of difference to teachers and students. For example, using an assessment tool like PrepAI can reduce the workload on teachers and assist them in creating test papers in a handful of minutes. It is convenient, stress-free, and effective.