What Is Educational Technology (EdTech)?

What Is Educational Technology (EdTech)?
portrait of Dr. Samantha Fecich
by Dr. Samantha Fecich
Published on November 18, 2021


All new teachers need to familiarize themselves with educational technology. Not only should they understand what tools to use and when, but they should also know why EdTech is so important in the classroom. EdTech can be a powerful tool for enhancing lessons and engaging students.

But what is EdTech exactly? And what kind of role does it play in learning?

What Is EdTech and How Does It Work?

Educational technology, or EdTech, is a catch-all term for a variety of digital tools and methods that can enhance learning. EdTech can help teachers design instruction, develop engaging ways for students to learn, track data based on student learning, reflect upon learning, and make data-based decisions.

International Society for Technology in Education standards for educators and standards for students ensure curricula designed using EdTech meet certain requirements. By using these standards to inform their decision-making, teachers and administrators can evaluate how effectively they're using EdTech in the classroom.

Because of the pandemic, the use of educational technology in the classroom has received a lot of attention. Some impacts of educational technology in the classroom are positive. For example, in an EdWeek article from June 2020, many teachers reported improved use of EdTech during the pandemic.

However, the increased implementation of educational technology has also revealed inequalities in device and internet access among students.

Even before the pandemic, educational technology had a place in the classroom, whether it was a virtual, hybrid, or in-person learning space.

Why Is Technology Important in Education?

If you're a teacher, it is absolutely critical that you understand how to use educational technology in your classroom. Administrators and educators want to know that you can use this tool effectively during instruction.

Implementing educational technology has many benefits. Data tracking and decision-making based on data can save you time as a teacher and allow you to do the following:

8 EdTech Tools You Can Use in the Classroom

Let's look at some of our favorite and most effective educational technology tools. This list includes free, easy-to-use tools that can apply to an array of content areas. The EdTech tools listed below may be used in traditional, hybrid, or virtual learning spaces.

Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic allows teachers to record content for students who were late to class or had to miss a lesson. Video recordings are great because students can review them at their convenience. Learners can fast-forward, pause, and rewind lessons.

Padlet

Padlet is a virtual bulletin board that enables digital content sharing. Students can post images, text, videos, links, GIFs, drawings, recordings, and more to share with their peers. This is a fun tool that allows students to facilitate and actively participate in their own learning. Using Padlet, teachers can discover what students already know about a topic.

Canva for Education

If you like the Canva free version, you'll likely love Canva for Education. There are so many resources for teachers in Canva, such as presentation templates, virtual backgrounds, flashcards, posters, agendas, infographics, and lesson plans.

Nearpod and Pear Deck

Create engaging presentations by adding interactive content such as quizzes, videos, 3D options, virtual reality tours, drag-and-drop activities, collaborative boards, polls, and fill-in-the-blank questions. Using programs like Nearpod and Pear Deck, you can create content from scratch or save time by uploading your favorite presentations or PDFs.

Both tools also have interactive libraries that you can reference and use in your lessons.

Classroomscreen

This is a fantastic tool for classroom management, offering features such as a calendar, timers, a traffic light, work symbols, text, drawing options, QR codes, a sound level checker, and random name pickers. You can use this multi-purpose tool to showcase learning objectives with the text feature or have students navigate straight to a website via a QR code.

Blooket

Looking for another formative assessment tool to do checks for understanding during a lesson? Blooket might be the right fit for you. Using Blooket, you can create a quiz from scratch or upload it from Quizlet. Students can work on their own or you can create a game for students to play together.

Some of the most popular games offered by Blooket are Gold Quest, Cafe, and Tower of Defense.

Jamboard

Available in Google Drive, this tool is a digital whiteboard with which students can draw, add pictures, write on sticky notes, and more. Jamboard allows up to 20 frames (or slides) and 50 distinct users on a jam at one time. I use this tool with adult learners by giving each student a frame to document their own learning during a lesson.

Jamboard is also useful for collaboration. For example, during the beginning of a lesson, I might ask students to respond to a prompt by placing sticky notes on the board with their answers.

Strategies for Using EdTech Effectively

With so many tools available, using EdTech can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you use educational technology in the classroom.


Feature Image: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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