The 3 Essentials to Designing Effective Technology-Enhanced Education

Technology accelerates student learning when skillfully implemented. 

GUEST COLUMN | by Victoria Sanville

WIDANALAGE EROSHANA YOMAL CHAMIKARA

The right classroom technology is critical to success for educators and students alike across the US. In a post-COVID world, we rely even more now on technology to aid in information gathering, presentations, group work, remote learning, among other classroom activities. To best serve today’s students and make learning environments optimized for modern life, it’s crucial to design future-ready K-12 classrooms. To maximize educational benefits, school districts and technology buyers should develop consolidated plans focused on enhancing student achievement.

‘To best serve today’s students and make learning environments optimized for modern life, it’s crucial to design future-ready K-12 classrooms.’

Engagement is Crucial 

Educators have long understood that when education is fun, exciting or interesting for students, learning outcomes can improve, and with technology use on the rise, higher engagement often means improved achievement.

According to a comprehensive 2020 report from the Brookings Institution, “…the evidence indicates that technology may accelerate student learning when it is used to scale up access to quality content, facilitate differentiated instruction, increase opportunities for practice, or when it increases learner engagement.” The report also notes that understanding how new technologies alter interactions between educators, learners, and content is key to successful implementation.

With evidence of younger generations having shorter attention spans, the importance of technology in creating engaging K-12 environments is more crucial than ever before.

Still, investing in technology doesn’t immediately guarantee improved engagement; schools must fully utilize each technology’s capabilities. Schools can’t expect same-day results by simply adding new tools without considering content, delivery, and interactivity. 

For example, adding a digital whiteboard in a classroom doesn’t change experiences or engagement if it’s used the same way as a blackboard. Without utilizing advanced capabilities like screen sharing, digital annotation, presentation saving, file sharing or access to curriculum apps and multimedia resources, students are offered little in the way of engagement to connect their educational experiences with the rest of their highly digital modern lives.

Keep it Simple

When people are asked to name the most important aspects of virtually any widespread technology, ease of use is at or near the top of the list. If a device is frustrating or hard to learn, it’s likely to be unused, wasting the investment. In K-12 settings, this is especially critical due to strict schedules and the guaranteed disruption that delays or tech interruptions cause in sensitive environments like classrooms.

One way to enhance simplicity for IT staff, technology managers, educators and students is to standardize solutions, so experiences are the same throughout a school or a district. Using consistent equipment enables teachers and students to master and bring skills with them as they move between schools, versus a non-coordinated system under which everyone must learn new procedures for different classes or different grade levels. 

Standardized solutions can also improve backend processes and increase capabilities, such as enabling in-room displays to function as a centrally controlled digital signage network or adding new options like emergency message overrides and auto startup/shutdown across entire buildings. Additionally, standardization enables tech managers to troubleshoot, manage replacements, update software, deploy features, and ensure lesson compatibility more efficiently.

Schools using flexible technologies such as whiteboards or projectors on moveable carts can maximize the value and use of each investment, and easy setup encourages frequent use. Of course, any solution integrating with personal devices also needs to be widely compatible with the most popular ecosystems including Android, iOS, Windows and MacOS to ensure devices can connect and utilize full functionality.

Uncovering Value in the Long Game

User-friendly, consistent technologies enhance learning experiences by engaging students and facilitating effective teaching. However, the rapid advancements in technology, exemplified by tools like AI essay drafting software, pose challenges for schools. These schools must adapt to new capabilities and integrate them into their curriculum, all while official educational standards struggle to keep pace with these evolving technologies.

When considering technology investments, decision makers should prioritize solutions and partners that underscore flexibility and future capabilities. Short term cost cutting like opting for older models or skipping wireless options may save costs upfront, but can shorten the system’s lifespan and lead to frequent replacements due to compatibility issues with third-party technology advancements, ultimately increasing spend.

Procuring technologies from a trusted brand can also provide assurance that they will still be there in 5, 10 or 20 years, making it easier to service, upgrade and expand over time. As technologies continue to supplant textbooks, libraries and other staples of in-school education, having a trusted relationship with a supportive technology provider may become as important to daily business as having reliable electricity.

Victoria Sanville is the Director Education at LG Business Solutions USA, a leading provider of reliable and secure products and solutions teachers, students, and IT pros need to thrive. Sanville leads with a design-thinking approach to drive collaboration and connection seamlessly in K-12 education environments. 

0 Comments

    Leave a Comment

    %d bloggers like this: