Guest post by Steven Ramirez, technology integrator at The Philadelphia School.
Most educators I know are obsessed with learning. They live in a constant state of exploration; seeking out information and resources that will stretch their students’ (and their own) understanding of the world. Nevertheless, there exists a perception that teachers are resistant towards adopting new technologies in the classroom.
At the progressive preK-8 independent school where I support faculty in their integration of technology, educators live and breathe creative, student-centered teaching. My experience has shown me that these teachers, like most teachers, consistently seek tools that will improve and expand their students’ learning experience and/or improve management of student work.
Many educational technologies struggle to break into the classroom because they have yet to clearly meet teachers’ needs. Barriers to entry (and exit) can keep teachers from ever introducing new applications to their classes. After multiple discussions exploring the many factors that prevent tech adoption in the classroom, the following are takeaways that ed-tech startups should consider:
- Simplify the setup for teachers. Allow teachers to create student logins for their classes through simpler and more controlled processes. Nothing destroys the momentum of an exciting learning moment than an arduous sign-up/log-in process. This is especially true if your target user is on the younger side.
- Clearly explain how your platform or application will benefit student learning, their experience, and/or teacher management. Highlight these points through a success story and when possible, share an example of these lessons so other teachers see how your product is being used.
- Allow for the creation of content and promote easy sharing. Many teachers push their students to be creators of knowledge and many believe that the value of the creating experience comes from others validation of their work.
- What is the take-away? Leave both the students and teachers with clear takeaways. Students should have a file or link that can be shared (see previous point). Teachers would see clear value from an activity that would allow for easy and fast grading or evaluation.
In order to clear the way for a more seamless integration of learning technologies in classrooms, we should focus on the aspects that prevent teachers from even signing up their students. As these barriers to entry diminish, we will be able to witness a more fluid use of educational technologies in our schools.
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know at @yo_sram!
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