Digital tools brings innovation by encouraging dynamics and flexibility. When teachers use digital tools, learning becomes more interesting and interactive.
The OECD recently published a study on the potential of technology to transform education. According to the results, teachers who use digital professional development resources for teachers are more motivated, more eager to learn, and more willing to incorporate digital learning methods into their teaching.
The study shows that the use of digital resources in their learning processes familiarises teachers with a wide range of new learning solutions and methods so that they will also use digital tools in their classroom teaching.
What is edtech?
The integration of technology into education to improve teaching includes the use of hardware - laptops, tablets, and other digital devices - and software - websites, programs, services, and digital tools specifically designed for teachers. No matter how much technology is used in the classroom, digital learning has come to play a crucial role in education. But digital education is not just about the one-sided process by which the teacher teaches and the student learns.
Digital resources for teachers can enhance teachers' opportunities to learn. They provide easy access to programs and materials and give them a faster way to connect. In a word, it gives them the space to collaborate. Online professional development programs can reach a large number of teachers at the same time. They diversify the design of traditional courses and open up new possibilities for collaborative teaching that validates the teacher and puts them back at the center of the educational process.
Digital tools for teachers that create top teachers
The study shows that using digital tools for professional development gives teachers more than just the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and develop new skills. It has a profound impact on professional identity, social relationships and associates teaching with a sense of confidence and enthusiasm.
Technology can also transform the way teachers carry out their administrative tasks. Digital tools for teachers simplify their work, save them time and allow them to focus their energy on teaching. You can read more about how Kinderpedia helps teachers organize their daily work more efficiently here.
The building blocks of connected education
Technology alone cannot fulfill the promise of a full education. It is teachers who facilitate its implementation. Firstly, by being open to innovation and anticipating the benefits that technology brings to teaching. Secondly, by having the digital skills to use it.
In addition to the digital literacy that teachers need to demonstrate, a good internet connection and access to digital devices - are prerequisites for reaping the benefits of digitization in education. Although the digital divide has narrowed in recent years, there are still areas in Romania without internet access, especially in rural areas.
Beyond external barriers, the congruence of internal factors such as the social context, the environment, and characteristics of schools, the economic situation of the families involved, also influence the learning process.
World Vision Romania analyzed the impact of the pandemic on schooling in rural areas. The study found that over 40% of children did not participate in online schooling. This is primarily due to physiological shortcomings. These are caused by parents' diminishing income: more than 60% of parents did not work, and 40% of those surveyed failed to provide for their children at all or only partially provided for school supplies, food, medicine, and hygiene products.
The analysis revealed the conditions under which teaching took place this school year in the 313 villages in the study sample: 1 in 4 schools has no internet connection, and 9 out of 10 schools have no laptops or tablets for digital education.
Teachers are not the only key players in the education innovation process. Government education strategies are designed to facilitate the implementation of digital resources as learning methods for both students and teachers. Barriers related to internet connectivity or access to digital devices cannot be removed without sustained state support. Collaboration between education and innovation should also inspire cooperation between decision-makers in these two sectors.
A key element in transforming education with digital: time
The online sphere opens up access to a vast number of resources, articles, courses. The abundance of possibilities can be overwhelming and teachers, like all of us, lack the time to navigate and choose from the myriad of options. If they are to overcome the digital skills barrier, teachers also need effective ways of selecting relevant resources that add value to their teaching.
The OECD study highlights the importance of online communities in which teachers organize themselves. They function as support groups where members' knowledge acts as a collective network of information and helps teachers to sort relevant resources and share them with colleagues to make learning processes more efficient with the support of digital resources.
The positive effects that digital tools for teachers have on education reverberate more deeply than just making learning more efficient. They bring the professional validation, motivation, and sense of value that teachers need to transform society.
In conclusion, digital tools for teachers help to innovate the teaching, learning and assessment process by encouraging introduction of new teaching methods, dynamics and flexibility in classroom.
Thus, digital tools are essential in the teaching-learning-assessment process because technology is part of the daily activity of adults and children. If we integrate it into the teaching process, it will bring motivation, curiosity and interest from the children in the classroom.