If you expect to see a list of 7568 EdTech tools in this post, I am afraid I will disappoint you because I will not be sharing such a list and I will explain why.
In fact, I could have done that and it would have been easy to make such a big compilation of tools and apps for teachers to use in and out of the classroom because educational technology market is really big. Only in 2017, 813 new EdTech companies were founded in the USA and it is expected that the market will grow 15.4% during the period 2018-2024. The EdTech landscape from immersive technologies such as VR/AR to language learning apps and online course platforms continues to expand and educators from K12 to higher education are literally spoilt for choices.
EdTech Tool Lists
The EdTech Tool lists are shared each and every day and it is great to be able to reach these curated lists so easily. We do not have to search and decide which ones to use in the classroom. They are all filtered and brought to our finger tips through a search engine. You can even find an EdTech tool list in one of the posts here on this website. I am not against the lists but there are some fundamental problems I recently noticed about these EdTech lists.
Problem 1: Tool vs pedagogy mindset
They make us tool-oriented. We get distracted from a pedagogy-oriented mindset about technology use. The lists subconsciously make us think EdTech is all about tools and apps.
We know that successful technology implementation in the classroom has little to do with which tools and apps we use. Instead, successful implementation is facilitated by defining strategies and goals, and training teachers on how to use technology to achieve learning outcomes. A survey conducted by Samsung shows that 90% of teachers say technology integration in the classroom plays an important role on student success while 60% believe they are not prepared to use technology in their classrooms.
Problem 2: Lack of depth and practicality
The idea of these lists is that they just introduce you the tools and their basic features. For instance, the sentence below is taken from an EdTech tool list I just came across on Google search:
“Edmodo provides a platform for students and teachers to engage in collaborative projects that help to foster creative thinking skills. It is a tool that can be used to bring students’ ideas together.”
OK nice introduction, but it gives us very little information about the platform. If it brings ideas together, is it like Google Docs or Padlet because both are the platforms that serve similar purposes.
Such lists also lack the practical side. It does not tell us much about how to use them in real contexts or give us any teaching and learning activities. You may think that it is the teachers’ job to go and search about Edmodo now – after noticing it on this list – and find their own ways to use the tool or decide whether it is even useful for them or not. But teachers are busy. They need more practical solutions on EdTech use.
Problem 3: Lack of proof and validation
Another problem with these lists is that these tools need more proof and validation than just being listed for them to be considered useful. The fact that a specific tool is listed on a website does not necessarily make it great for learning. The conversation around EdTech should be more about first-hand teacher stories and real experiences in the classroom rather than listing X number of tools to try every year.
Some Tips about EdTech
Reviewing lists to stay updated about what’s new on the market is always a good idea but not the greatest idea if you want to go deeper about EdTech. Go after actual stories from teachers who have first-hand experience with EdTech in their classrooms. When you come across a tool next time – most probably on a list – ask yourself:
What are the learning outcomes I want to achieve?
What will I be able to achieve with this technology that would otherwise be impossible with pen and paper?
How are other teachers using this technology in their classrooms? What are their insights?
Does this technology have enough validation by teachers? Or is it just promoted on some Edtech list?
We have an idea…
Aware of the shallow understanding about EdTech and the lack of real and practical EdTech stories by teachers, Grow with Tech team is preparing to support educators through actual first-hand teacher stories brought to you on our website. We will be bringing together practical EdTech recipes that have been tried and tested by teachers for teachers very soon.
Keep following this space for updates.