Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of learning bridging learners across geographical boundaries in the global classroom. The tech choices we make can speed the rate of our success or failure. Our learners span the technology literacy spectrum from tech shy to digitally integrated. We know when the technologies we’ve selected are not meeting our expectations, but do we know how to strategically select the right tech to begin with ensuring a sound investment?
What is EdTech?
EdTech is the utilization of digital technologies to facilitate learning. It’s not a magic bullet for engagement. In fact when poorly implemented, technology can distract from learning and cause disengagement. So how do we leverage the unique qualities technology offers to deepen learning?
Three Key Roles
EdTech can play a supporting role or take the lead, providing a rich digital landscape for learning. What role does technology play in your online learning?
- Enhance. We employ technology tools to enhance a live learning experience. We may incorporate polling apps, BYOD activities, or social learning opportunities to expand the reach of the content and classroom.
- Augment. We employ technology to deliver additional content. Flipped classroom and hybrid learning are formats we use EdTech to augment the learning experience. We may use technology to craft learning pathways that weave face-to-face learning with synchronous and asynchronous digital learning priming a learning event, stimulating ongoing discussion, or offering opportunities for deeper exploration and application.
- Deliver. We employ technology to deploy content. There are a wide range of choices for delivering meaningful digital learning – selecting the right one depends upon our objectives.
EdTEch Success Profile
If our goal is to deepen engagement and learning, selecting the right tech must be central to our education program design. Use my EdTech Success Profile to clarify your must-have requirements so that you can confidently make the right tech investment to maximize learning.
Objectives. Consider how utilizing tech will impact your education program:
- What is the overall objective of the event or session?
- What is EdTech’s role in this learning environment (enhance, augment, deliver)?
- How will EdTech help us achieve our overall program goal?
Audience. Consider how utilizing tech will enhance the learner experience:
- What tech functions fall within or just outside our learners’ comfort zone?
- How much tech support do we anticipate our learners will require?
- How will learners access digital content? Are there any access barriers to consider?
Integration. Consider how to best utilize tech in the learning design:
- Will content be delivered synchronously or asynchronously?
- What key features of the tech will assist us in meeting the learning objectives?
- Who will be responsible for successfully implementing and troubleshooting the tech?
Evaluation. Consider how to measure EdTech effectiveness:
- How will we evaluate EdTech success?
- How will we collect and utilize feedback for improvement?
Reflecting upon what features work best with your program design significantly narrows the selection options so that you can train in on the solution that will best accomplish your learning goals. Thinking about EdTech as a design choice ensures the technology is not just a last minute add-on for the “newness” factor but plays an intentional role in the quality of the experience you are crafting.
The Tale of Two EdTech Choices
To see the EdTech Success Profile in action, access my article in The Executive, Selecting EdTech that Deepens Learning, for two case-based examples: