Which Edtech Tools Can’t Teachers Live Without

Student engagement is one of the top factors in a student’s success in school. If a student isn’t engaged, they get bored, they drift off, or possibly worst of all, they cause disruptions. As educators we need our students focused and attentive to our direction and learning objectives in our classroom. One way to do this is with the implementation of edtech tools into our students’ lives. This could be with an interactive display in the classroom, to devices in the hands of students, or just a few computers in the corner.

Over the years when I have asked teachers, “Which edtech tools can you not live without in your classroom?” The most common answer is, “My SMART Board/interactive display.”

Teachers love the fact that it makes the room more interactive, which leads to engagement. Students love coming to the board and actually control the lesson. It increases student collaboration, especially on a multiple touch surface. Students work together to solve a problem, complete and activity or more.

Probably the next most frequent edtech tool teachers cannot live without when asked is student response systems. I have seen this from traditional student clicker devices up to students with devices such as iPads, Chromebooks, or laptops using sites such as Kahoot, Poll Anywhere, SMART response 2, or SMART lab activities such as Shout It Out.

This technology has evolved from hardware-based to a mix of hardware and software. Again teachers have explained it’s all about engagement. We are using the technology to get students more involved in the classroom on a regular basis. And so many of these tools are including gaming components that students love.

But what is great for the teacher on top of all of this is the feedback they get. Teachers see in real-time how students are progressing in class. This also helps a teacher better understand and reflect on their own teaching methods. They ask themselves, “Can I move on or do I need to reteach?” or “Why are some students getting it and others are not?” and so forth.

This one piece of technology gives teachers valuable data that before could only be assessed through testing or from hand raising. So as a teacher if I can get that data back and at the same time give a voice to all my students, even the quiet ones, the technology has succeeded and is a huge benefit to my teaching and my students.

If by bringing in just the smallest amount of technology gets students more engaged in the classroom we have succeeded to a certain level in making that student’s life better.

Try SMART Learning Suite and discover edtech tools to engage your students. 

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Mike McGowan
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About Mike McGowan

Mike McGowan is the Technology Director for Sunnybrook School District 171 in Illinois. Mike also teaches technology integration classes at the college level and also serves on the Executive Board of Illinois Computing Educators, the Illinois ISTE affiliate. Prior to being a Technology Director Mike was a classroom teacher, teaching computers and business classes for grades pre-K up through 12th grade.

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