What You Need to Know About Integrating Technology in the Classroom
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What You Need to Know About Integrating Technology in the Classroom

What You Need to Know About Integrating Technology in the Classroom

The global educational technology (EdTech) market is growing, with Globe News Wire predicting it will be worth $318.8 billion by 2027. Now that the pandemic has forced many classrooms to shift online, EdTech adoption is accelerating. Integrating technology into the classroom can be intimidating, especially as we try to accommodate different learning styles and levels of attentiveness, but it has its rewards. When done with a sound strategy, technology can be a boon for the classroom, ease stress on instructors and increase student performance.

In this entry-level article, we’ve compiled a few important factors you should familiarize yourself with in order to successfully integrate edTech into your classroom.

Technology to increase student engagement

A study published in the Journal of Interactive Media in Education found that integrating engagement-tech into the classroom can improve learning capabilities and higher-order thinking skills while cultivating relationships through peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. However, for students to be genuinely engaged, EdTech has to be incorporated into the way classes are conducted and, more importantly, tailored to your students' concerns and abilities.

"One valuable lesson we teach in our program is understanding the perspectives of all constituents by putting yourself in the shoes of people you serve," Dr. Susan Bartel, the Associate Professor at Maryville University's Higher Education Leadership program, emphasized. The program that she heads is known for its focus on compassionate education, with courses on reflective teaching practices that highlight the importance of personalized learning,shaping her outlook on proper classroom facilitation — which includes incorporating technology according to student needs.

Just as in traditional modes of learning, some students may gravitate towards video lessons,and some active participation. Try combining different modalities and formats to keep students on their toes and actively listening. Most learning management systems provide opportunities for multiple choice, written response, video,audio and interactive sessions. 

What is asynchronous learning?

Asynchronous is a term we often use in technology to denote when multiple interactions take place in a non-linear fashion. Sorry. That was a mouthful. It really just means that students can work at their own pace. A lecture that occurs at a specific time every week that all students must be present for represents a synchronous interaction. They all (students and instructors) must be there at the sametime. But if the instructor records that lecture and allows students to watch it on their own time, it becomes asynchronous. The trend towards asynchronous learning at post-secondary schools aligns with the social development of students in the academy, allowing them to make their own schedules and form responsible study habits on what may be their first journey away from home. Asynchronous learning gives students the freedom to consume the material at their own pace.

Technology for student assessment

School administrators and instructors alike often find themselves searching for alternative methods to gauge student progress. Digital assessment tools like Socrative can enhance your learning management system by not only grading quizzes in real-time but also generating comprehensive and accurate reports on each students' performance. This can help you gain insight into how lesson plans can be improved, or if certain individuals need extra help.

If you want to add a fun twist to your lessons,there are also “gamified” versions of these assessment tools as well,like Gimkit. It offers quiz-style games which instructors can customize to fit any subject and even comes with an in-game currency that allows students to buy power-ups and enhance the learning experience further.The app even goes further with its capability to send data reports to both students and teachers, allowing for formative assessment and identifying areas that need more in-depth discussions.

Just as withlesson formulation, testing and assessments can be delivered in a variety of formats. EdTech can bring new question formats like video question and video response, but for the most part, instructors and students alike will be familiar with the basic options.

Technology for maintaining academic integrity

Many educators are convinced that online assessments are easy targets for academic dishonesty. However, in a previous article titled "Are students really more likely to cheat during online exams?", we find that the probability of academic dishonesty is just as likely as during exams taken in traditional learning environments. That’s not necessarily a good thing, and if integrity is a concern, technology can be brought to scale the traditional proctored exam without sacrificing students’ privacy. A GDPR-compliant participant monitoring solution like Integrity Advocate can overcome the most challenging aspects of maintaining academic integrity, even when working remotely. With options to lock down browsers, flag phone use and identify if someone else is helping,Integrity Advocate can secure testing environments remotely even better than anin-classroom option might.

Plagiarism discovery tools like Turnitin and testing sites like ClassMaker can solve some problems, but for participant monitoring and identity verification, Integrity Advocate is the industry leader in secure, noninvasive,platform-agnostic software. Integrity Advocate monitors class or assessment participation according to customizable rules. It doesn’t store the irrelevant personal data of its users, but still provides the certainty necessary for instructors and administrators to know their students are attentive and learning. It is recommended that the rules set for online examinations mirror the expectations of traditional examination environments to both align with student preconceptions and minimize unjustified privacy infringements. Once the exam is over and all flags are addressed, all of the students’ data is purged from their system, thus protecting student info from data breaches or misuse.

Evolving the classroom

Software developers are more sought-after than ever, according to Forbes, and this is partly to meet the growing demand for EdTech in the modern classroom. With the industry continually developing cutting-edge, innovative software, your organization needs to keep abreast of the latest EdTech — and the new rules that regulate it— to decide which software can produce the best possible results.

Ultimately, technology should not be limited to merely incorporating whatever software you find first. It should be adopted system-wide so it becomes a natural part of the learning process, instead of just supplementing your lessons. The ideal EdTech tool for your classroom reduces instructor workload, helps students and instructors to work more efficiently, makes education accessible to more students, and helps improve their performance.

“For many, [this technology] has broken down the silos of traditional teaching where teachers lock themselves in their rooms and do their own thing,” says EdTech guru Adam Suarez. However,Suarez emphasizes that you shouldn't rely on it to carry your teaching strategy completely, saying, "Lead with learning, never with tech."

Written by Alicia Christianson