Digital Transformation in the Education Sector – A Guide To Education Technology
Digital transformation in the education sector has been advancing rapidly, and it’s set to gain even more momentum. The advantages in using this advancement of EdTech greatly outweigh the disadvantages, but that does not mean there won’t be challenges ahead. With some of our easy implementation tips, however, you’ll be ready.
Read on to learn more about the digital transformation in the education and how to make the most of it or check out ViewSonic’s Education solution for empowering classroom collaboration.
Can you think of an aspect of life that has not yet been influenced by digital transformation and technology?
Chances are high that the answer is no!
This is especially true in the education sector, which finds varying degrees of digital transformation happening all the time. From interactive whiteboards to front-facing projectors, the digital transformation in the education sector has yielded its own technological industry – EdTech.
Since much of the digital transformation in the education sector is rather new, many are still unaware of EdTech and how it has changed the face of education forever. With that in mind, this guide is to help teachers navigate EdTech and the everchanging landscape of the digital transformation successfully.
What Is EdTech and the Digital Transformation?
Short for educational technology, EdTech refers to a branch of technology that is used to enhance classroom learning. This may seem like a broad definition, but EdTech really is just that. From digital whiteboards, to online curriculum management systems, and specialized tablets, EdTech covers the range of products and philosophies to bring education practices into the 21st century.
Think back to your own education. Chances are that chalkboards, overhead projectors, and bulky books were all present. Conversely, thanks to the overall digital transformation of the education sector, the chalkboards have been replaced with digital whiteboards, the overhead projectors with interactive front-of-classroom displays, and the bulky books with digital tablet-based versions. This technological change is entirely facilitated by these EdTech devices.
4 Advantages of the Digital Transformation
As is the case with any sector-level transformation, whether it be industrial, political, or academic, there are opinions. Everyone has one, and they are usually binary between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. With that mind, in the context of digital transformation in the education sector, those in favor usually point towards the prospect for increased experimentation, resources, efficiency, and life skill development.
1. Experimentation and Feedback
On-the-fly quizzes and up-to-date lesson content are 2 factors in which EdTech is more dynamic than the ways of old. By considering EdTech’s always-connected status, teachers have been given the tools for infinite experimentation and near-instantaneous feedback. Want to test out a new learning tool? No problem. Want to ensure that your students are understanding new material? Give them a quiz. Realize that your lesson material is slightly out-of-date? Update it seamlessly! The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to the digital transformation of the education sector, you can experiment whenever you please and can act on the results however you see fit.
2. Plenty of Resources
When it comes to EdTech, teachers will never have to worry about resource limitations ever again! When an interactive whiteboard’s native software is taken into account with its Internet-connectivity, resources are practically infinite. These may range from media integration to live annotation and gamification, but honestly, the only limitations are the teacher’s creativity and technological literacy.
3. Automation and Efficiency
The development of young and not-so-young minds may be the goal of education, but unfortunately, it’s not the only focus. The truth is that teaching is filled with annoying but necessary side tasks that ultimately distract from the goal at hand. This includes grading, attendance, communicating with multiple people, and all the busywork of education.
Luckily, EdTech and the digital transformation are here to help! Considering the trend present in nearly all industry-level technology upgrades, increased automation and efficiency often arise out of the transformation. Education is no exception. Now, teachers can delegate those administrative distractions to their newly-acquired EdTech tools. As a result, those properly using EdTech devices may find that their day-to-day teaching experiences are much more efficient.
4. Life Skill Development
No matter how you feel about technology’s presence in our modern world, it’s here to stay. Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to communicate with a friend on the other side of the world, the use of technology has gone from a quirky hobby to a necessity in a matter of years. That’s where EdTech and the education sector’s digital transformation plays a large role. By exposing students, especially the younger ones, to this technology, they will be set for life. In practice, manifestations include source literacy and digital presentation creation. As such, by considering technology use a life school, there’s no better time to learn than when brains are still developing.
3 Challenges of the Digital Transformation
The digital transformation of the education sector has many different detractors offering very real concerns. These include the potential for in-class distraction, the possibility of unequal access between students, and the lack of digital source oversight. Below, we’ll delve into these drawbacks to help better navigate if challenge arises.
1. Distractions Abound
Many people argue that the use of technology – especially tablets or other types of screens, can be addictive and damaging for students. If you find that students are misusing EdTech, then it might be time to reevaluate your lesson plan!
And the solution may surprise you. Incorporate more ‘fun’ into you usage of EdTech. That may sound like the opposite of what you need, but studies show that students who are having fun are more likely to be engaged in active learning.
2. Unequal Access
Inequality, in all its variations, is rife in our society. Furthermore, considering the costs associated with modern technology, not every student could possibly afford it. This is why, if EdTech and the overall digital transformation are to succeed, then classes need to provide students with all the necessary tools and materials in a universal manner. Conversely, teachers do not necessarily have to implement EdTech on the individual-student-level, but rather can limit it to front-of-classroom tools.
3. Source Reliability
In an era where anyone can publish anything, and the truth has become a matter of opinion, the reliability of online sources can be described as, at best, opaque. Without the literacy that comes with proper education and experience in the matter, deciphering the truth from the biased falsehoods contained within internet sources can be very difficult.
Implementing a Digital Transformation Strategy – 4 Points to Consider
Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, the digital transformation of education is happening. So it is important to have an implementation plan ready to go. This is true for both the administrators who will have to plan this transformation and the teachers who must enact it and be taught to use the EdTech products. Focusing on the latter group, we think that proper strategic implementation must involve consideration of the students themselves, the still-important lesson plan, the continued use of non-digital resources, and the so-call educational triangle. Intrigued? Let’s dive in!
1. The Educational Triangle
In the modern era, education contains three major tenets – teaching, learning, and technology. Forming a sort of ‘educational triangle’, it’s important that no one tenet outweigh the others. This can go for teachers that see the introduction of technology as an ‘easy out’ from some of the more difficult challenges as a teacher. When it comes down to it, the ideal scenario comes the three come together in unison, when teaching is augmented with technology and makes the learning process to efficient and effective.
2. Know Your Audience
Education has never been a ‘one-size-fits-all’ institution. What works for one student or classroom at one time may not work for other students or classrooms at other times. This goes double for the integration of EdTech in the classroom. A feature that works incredibly well for detailed lecture-based learning, for instance, may not be as effective when dealing with younger students that require a more engrossing approach.
3. Lesson Planning Is Not Obsolete
The digital transformation of the education sector, although indicative of the modern age, has not fully eliminated the ways of old. Importantly, lesson planning has remained just as important is it was in decades past. Flashy EdTech tools and visual aids mean nothing in the face of an improperly planned lesson. At the end of the day, remember that these tools are meant to enhance your lesson rather than to replace it.
4. The Use of Things
Just because it is exciting to use the brand new EdTech tools, don’t forget that the old resources are still present, effective, tried, and true. Paper, scissors, and glue, for example, may not be the pinnacle of high tech, but there’s always a lesson to be taught about building something with one’s own hands. In short, there are plenty of ‘things’ one could use in conjunction with EdTech, and they shouldn’t be forgotten. Who knows, their effect may be surprising.