Can anyone imagine a 21st century education without technology? Long gone are the days where the only source of knowledge were our teachers and encyclopaedia articles. Today’s world is used to gadgets and learning software to make both teaching and learning accessible, enjoyable, affordable and effective.
Believe it or not, every single teacher is nowadays part of a technological revolution that will lead to a dramatic shift in educational paradigms.
Technology based educational projects and major teaching communities are aiming at creating inspiring and teacher friendly collaborative scenarios to exchange experiences. Actors in this technological revolution not only create the tools but shape the needs and demands of today’s teaching requirements. Ultimately, technology should help us be better connected and thus increase the success rate of our students, provide higher income for our teachers and reduce preparation time and non-teaching tasks of all parties involved.
Developing educational technology is expensive but all the effort and investment is worth the enormous benefits and changes in the learning outcomes of students.
A lot has been written about how technology helps in education. The main benefits stressed are fostering better interaction between teachers and students, providing content libraries and resources and facilitating collaborative paradigms between students but there is little mention of technology helping interaction between teachers. There is a strong need for technology that promotes teacher-to-teacher interactions and makes it possible for teachers to feel part of a resourceful and supporting community.
The technology we’ve created has helped us stay connected and develop a strong ESL educational project. Together we, teachers, set the standards of our content creation, share and analyse the outcomes and count on technology that allows us to improve our product in real time.
With our platform teachers can learn from other teachers through the activities that experienced community members produce. This process is called TTT, or teachers teach teachers. We stimulate a continuous debate, content creation and sharing experiences through activities with guides that help new teachers or teachers without any experience to immerse and learn from multiple experiences in a very short time.
Technology also helps students to be more aware of their learning process. Our learners have a wide range of possibilities to achieve their learning goals. Below are only some examples of what technology offers to learners:
Access to the class material and the target language so that students don’t have to take notes and have more student talking time
Access to the teachers’ profiles they are scheduled to have
Personal progress record to be in control of their own learning pace
After class gamified practice to continue improving in a fun and entertaining way
An opportunity to take classes by video conference and learn remotely
A possibility to provide feedback about the teachers after every class
Here are some examples of the reach of technology for educational purposes, included in the Oxinity platforms:
Content creation: creating and sharing learners’ material
Content management: this includes a course library and a ready-to-use lesson plans with all related resources in a platform
Course management: allows creating an infinite variety of courses according to specific learning and teaching conditions
Real time content improvement: allows teachers to improve and add content as they use the material
Schedule management tools with geolocation: classes are listed with complete information about the level, age, learning purposes and locations. Groups can be created according to the students’ location.
Assessment creation: concept check questions for students’ self-study and self-evaluation
Assessment management and record keeping of personal students’ progress
Grading and feedback tools to measure outcomes:
Measure students’ progress
Identify learners’ needs, non-acquired content and gaps in learning and allow customized learning objectives
Create students reports
Measure how students interact with the system
Measure how teachers interact with the system
Measure the quality of the material
Receive feedback from students on the class quality
Collaboration tools: provides teachers the opportunity to communicate and share ideas, experiences and content through blogs, webinars, live streaming discussions and training
Gamification tools: using game-mechanics in order to boost user engagement. In our case it’s a virtual trip to London for our students.
Web conferencing: live web classes with all the content incorporated for the teachers to manage
Learning is fun again
Learning is more accessible and affordable. We can teach by video conference and reduce prices by optimizing groups through geolocation.
It’s the end of the printed and photocopied paper. Having digitized our content, there is no need for taking notes, which grants increased interaction and more practice in class
Students are in control of their progress in real time
Students can benefit from having a variety of teachers under the same system
Our technology reduces teachers’ prep time and allows more teaching time, which translates into better income
You only keep the best of being a teacher and have no worries about the worst of it, such as long prep time, correcting assignments, homework, exams, etc., dealing with unsatisfied clients and parents, poor results
Teachers reconcile family and work life
Technology allows teachers to teach everywhere in the world under the same standards
Teachers can exchange students and even cities
By creating a big network of teachers, newly arrived members can find a lot of support from like-minded people
We’re all creating a format, which is potentially adaptable to any subject in any language
We aren’t obsessed with grades. Students don’t need grades, they need to see progress. They are driven by curiosity and motivated by achievement, rather than scores.
And our best conclusion: technology will never replace teachers, but enhance them to the best of their capacities.
Not only technology transforms students’ learning experiences but it also makes it possible for teachers to constantly improve their skills, collaborate, create and most importantly, do it with economy of time and increased benefits.