Exploring the Possibilities in Digital EdTech

Kimberly Hulbert September 23, 2019
In the past, learners took in information through books and lectures. Presentations and texts started at the beginning of a theme or topic and proceeded in a linear fashion to the end. Teachers who wanted to enrich the learning experience led real-time live discussions, labs, or other forms of interactive collaboration. While this approach served the needs of some students, many were left behind. Today, a huge range of digital technologies make it possible to teach each student based on his or her particular learning style, speed, challenges, abilities, and needs.  
Types of Digital Technology in EdTech
Educational technology is not one-size-fits-all; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Interactive tools offer an amazing array of customizable resources for almost every scenario imaginable. For example –
  • A number of different apps and platforms allow teachers to create their own digital content and assessments using pre-made or customizable modules. Some apps allow teachers to create content using multimedia such as videos, audios, and game-style interactives.
  • Many EdTech companies now offer tools for making lessons more accessible to learners with learning differences. Such differences can range from English as a Second Language to dyslexia or autism.
  • Gamification is becoming increasingly common in educational technology. Students have the opportunity to explore concepts or build skills in virtual worlds, or to compete with another in digital forums.
  • Innovative EdTech companies are using futuristic tools such as interactive robots to spice up learning or make the classroom experience more accessible or engaging.
  • High-end virtual labs make it possible for students to participate in scientific experiments that would be beyond the means of an average school district. Some also allow students to safely experiment with dangerous materials or virtually travel beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Artificial intelligence is making it possible for students to receive personally-tailored coaching, tutoring, and assessments.
 
Real-World Examples of EdTech in Action
Some simpler forms of EdTech are available to most schools (and students) because their cost is reasonable or even free. Moodle, Google Classroom, Blackboard, and Canvas are all digital tools that are part of almost every teacher’s arsenal. These very similar “virtual learning environments” are really tools through which students can communicate with and learn from teachers, who can provide feedback, resources, and ”on demand” prescription. The Khan Academy is a prime example of accessible EdTech that’s in use in classrooms and homes around the world. Hundreds of courses are available, with options for setting individual goals, selecting multimedia resources, and much more. Because it’s free, Khan Academy has become a go-to resource for teachers at all grades. At the other end of the spectrum, full-scale (very expensive) video walls are now being used for a huge range of educational experiences from virtual field trips to simulations that allow students to “fly” an airplane or pilot a ship. According to the EdTech website, “Empowered by the new visual tools, the Stanford community has witnessed the Big Bang, experienced congenital heart disease and studied Michelangelo’sDavid — all without stepping off campus.” Many districts need help deciding how much and which type of EdTech is appropriate for their needs. Magic EdTech can help by supporting the process of analyzing, selecting, customizing, and evaluating digital technology in the classroom. Talk to us if you wish to learn more.  
Kimberly Hulbert

Kimberly Hulbert joined Magic EdTech this year and is responsible for content and technical engineering business development. With over 20 years in educational technology, some of the roles she's held were at Certica Solutions, dataMetrics Software, Pokémon and Kaplan.