Common Edtech Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Edtech Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Posted in Blog on 14 July 2015

Integrating technology into your curriculum can bring in its own set of issues. So getting your students ready for their first class involving technology can often be an exciting/frustrating/nerve-wracking/exhilarating experience.

By knowing the potential issues that others before have faced, you can take steps to avoid and minimize these.

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS

Be Ready to Tackle the Glitches: A lot of the initial frustration from an edtech situation arises with technical glitches. Poor connectivity, different browsers, there’s a lot that can go wrong. One way to handle these issues is to have your tech manager in class for the first 10 minutes to ensure all glitches are handled by someone who knows what to do. Perhaps one of the students is a tech whiz whom can be briefed and authorized beforehand to assist.

Standardize access and arrange for backup: Passwords and user name access could be kept standardized on the first day to ensure there are no forgotten mishaps. You could also get in touch with a service representative from the edtech company and request for some standby assistance to deal with specific account access problems and product glitches that may occur.

To connect or not to connect: Factor ahead whether students will need access outside of classroom to continue learning at home. Not all students may have access at home (or there may be problems with connectivity there). Many edtech systems understand this potential issue and their systems enable students to download the lessons to their device in order to review at home thereby negating the modern equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”!

INSTRUCTIONAL PROBLEMS

Teaching style impact: Using technology may change the style of teaching that is normally anticipated. Rather than looking at the lecturer, students may be watching the whiteboard or their screens instead. If you are implementing a flipped classroom, then students may have not understood or watched the video the previous night and have common questions.

Ensure students have clear information on how the new system is going to work. Take the time to walk them through what you expect them to do on their own, and what they can expect from you in the class.

Do a trial run: Take a test drive on your new classroom technology, with a few volunteers to be your students. This helps ensure everyone understands the system well enough and most of the hiccups are handled before the actual class. Dry runs are a great way to work out the potential problems or ambiguity in communicating your instructions.

Provide detailed instructions: If students need to conduct independent research or collaborate on projects, try and make their instructions as clear as possible.

EXPERIENCE PROBLEMS

Practice your classroom lesson: It’s important to try and provide a seamless experience while using technology which may require reference to pages within the edtech product or digital curriculum. Teachers should therefore know where to find these references quickly or bookmark these pages beforehand.

Teach once, measure twice: Measure the results of your edtech classroom in terms of actual learning. Good edtech companies will provide you with metrics that can tell you something about their experience. Are students accessing content when they should? Are they spending enough time on the pages? Does everyone seem to stumble on the same question? These are clues to gaps in the learning experience. Some of these may be technical or product issues, but some may be clear indicators for supplemental content or exercise requirements.

Ask for Feedback: Feedback and two-way communication is important in the beginning to ensure the edtech learning experience is smooth, effective and engaging. Take the time to understand what the students are flagging as issues or hiccups in their learning process.

Don’t become tech support: Be sure to designate clear tech and product support emails or numbers, so that your educators are not bombarded with these issues. If students are communicating with teachers or admin via text or email, be sure they know actual online working hours so they have a realistic expectation of response times.

Any edtech program is bound to have some teething issues. The idea is to try and anticipate and negate as many as you and focus on making the learning experience an effective one.

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