Technology has a growing — and permanent — presence in the classroom. It’s revolutionized how teachers deliver lessons, personalize and assess learning, and how they collaborate with other educators.
However, with an increasing number of tools and ever-changing classroom environments, it’s important that tech stacks are simplified and prioritize the most versatile tools.
In a recent webinar, we discussed the challenges and tech fatigue that teachers face with overly complicated workflows. We also shared strategies and tools that can be adopted to overcome obstacles from creation through learning assessment.
Read on to learn about these challenges, what to look for in new technology, and how a single tool can serve an entire workflow for teachers👇
1. Tech has knocked down barriers, changed education
Technology is incredibly pervasive across not just classrooms, but entire districts. Everything from student information systems to learning management systems to tools that are used day-to-day in classrooms contribute in breaking down barriers to ultimately serve teachers and students better, Screencastify director of product Henry Mann points out.
“Previously, one of the biggest barriers to learning was that we really expected everybody to learn in the same way, at the same time, at the same pace,” he said. “I think one of the big barriers that we've been able to knock down with technologies is this idea of allowing students to engage and learn from content in the ways that work best for them, which is incredibly exciting.”
Learn more about how tech has changed education in this episode of EdTech Heroes:
By knocking down these barriers, teachers are able to create differentiated or personalized learning, and understand how individual students learn in unique ways that make sense for them. But that content doesn’t necessarily have to come from a single teacher. Content can come from:
- 👩🏫 Other classroom teachers and staff
- 🧑🔬 Real-world subject matter experts
- 🙋♂️ The students themselves
- 👨👩👧👦 Students’ family members
“To really break down a barrier in education is recognizing that sometimes the most well versed human in the room isn't in the room itself, but is actually coming through from a video or from a webinar or conference,” said Laura Litton, director of support at Screencastify.
“Whether it's a video that I'm making, or that they're referring to to continue learning more or practicing more, or that I'm borrowing from another person who's really a strong content presenter … students are helping us to see that they're going to find experts on every single platform.”
Technology has helped bridge this gap in getting not only answers from the teacher in front of the students, but in other formats and from multiple sources. that information can be found everywhere. And teachers have a crucial role in guiding students through what is the best and most accurate information.
2. Too many tools and why consolidation is crucial
3. Overcoming the cultural, technical lifts of consolidation
With so many tools, consolidation can be overwhelming. Most districts would prefer to consolidate from three or four tools potentially into one. However, there are “cultural lifts” in addition to the more obvious technical lifts when consolidation — but these lifts can be overcome. =
Here are some tips ⬇️
Prioritize the tools that best augment lesson creation. We don't just want our students to use technology in their personal lives and to think that they have no educational usage or opportunity or meaning. Instead we want to bring those in and show our students why they can be so powerful to learn new concepts to connect to what they're doing in their classrooms every single day.
Constantly be really introspective and be data-driven. Look at the data and continuously analyze what is working and what is not working to find the best path forward for both teachers and students. Consider every relevant metric. For example, the number of videos created is a great indicator, but it’s greatly supported by additional data such as the number of views that videos get to show a full picture of engagement.
If something isn’t working, be transparent. When consolidating, tools will inevitably be left behind despite the investment in them. In order to make sure teachers don't feel disillusioned with this process, lead with the “why?” in terms of deciding on the tools that will best help. For example, Screencastify Edit doesn't work only with videos created with Screencastify Record — it works with any video. Teachers can consolidate to a single editor to perfect their videos.
4. What to look for when integrating new tech
5. Tech helps even teachers who prefer face-to-face time
Teachers love to be present in the moment with their students in a face-to-face environment and it’s important that every tool balances that idea.
When speaking with teachers, a concern that often comes up is being able to get to know their students. As Laura points out, video can help.
“[Video] doesn't mean that everybody has to be watching a video asynchronously on their Chromebooks in class together."
“What video can mean is that it really does enable teachers to have small group time where they do get to know students one-on-one while other groups are engaging in content asynchronously. Being able to not stand in front of the class and just deliver the instruction to everybody at one time can actually better enable getting to know students and develop those relationships than the traditional in-person models.
Henry also points out the ability for teachers to build a connection through video feedback. Simply recording a video that provides feedback on a written assignment can be far more impactful than comments in a document, as he points out from an experience he had with an English Language Arts teacher in Mississippi.
“The rate of improvement on their work has just skyrocketed, and she is building that connection with students and her students now are listening to her voice and really absorbing that feedback in a way that I just don't think is possible without the use of that tool.”